Caden Quinn

It’s purple and green twine, with three alternating segments of about half an inch long to make six total inch long segments of purple and green. Then it leads into an intertwining of individual strands to make a mash of those two colors, which leads to a knot, tying it comfortably around my wrist. Although it used to be a lush green and royal purple, it has faded to a bleaker version of both colors.

It has been about two and a half months since Owen put it on my wrist, and I haven’t thought of taking it off. To understand why a small bracelet makes such an impact, we need to travel to one of the last days of Camp Highlander. Owen was one of the most kindhearted campers I have ever met and had one simple question: What are your favorite colors? Owen, just like all the other kids in my cabin, was always asking questions like “Do we have to?”, “why can’t you launch me off the water blob?” and “Are you allowed to do that?”. However, this question wasn’t a trick or an elaborate scheme as I could tell, and showed a strange interest in me, personally. I answered frankly with “purple and green”. He smiled, turned around, and went back to his business. The next day, he walked over to me carrying a bracelet…for me. Not for a camper, not for someone in leadership, but just plain me. We had known each other for a grand total of two weeks, and here it was, a bracelet. I had done nothing besides my job, which I was being (poorly) compensated for, so I didn’t deserve anything else, did I?

As if it was a key to a hidden vault, a memory unlocked. I saw how I was in his shoes just a few years ago. I still remember the inside jokes of my own camper experience, four years ago now, and how special my counselors made me feel. When my cabin built a poker table in woodworking and our counselor destroyed us all in poker, or when we would always play counselors vs campers in games like dodgeball and frisbee, it made my experience feel unique and different from anyone else there. In that moment, in the blink of an eye, the split of a second, another metaphor for a small period of time, the bracelet became something more than just a bracelet. When I look at that bracelet, I see the potential for something great. 

I love to help as many people as possible, whether they are rude or ignorant or just different. However, due to the unfortunate fact that I am neither a politician nor billionaire philanthropist yet, I do what I can to make people smile. I help others with their problems, no matter if that means a talk, a performance, or just playing the fool for a while. I see no greater pleasure in life than to aid others and build a community of caring, loving individuals around you. This bracelet is now a token of my successes, memories I have forged, and people I have had the pleasure of making laugh. All it took was one little kid, one piece of rope, and a memory I will have forever. They showed me how great it can be to make memories and help in any way you can. Just a little help can change the world for the better. “Blood is thicker than water” is a misquoted idiom, with the real quote being “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”. The bonds we make along the way are stronger and more fulfilling than any connections we are born with. Life is not about the ending, but about how many people you helped along the way. I intend to live that life to its fullest.

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