fam • il • ee

MYNA is a family. That’s what we say when we’re telling people about us, that’s what we say at camps. But what does being a family really mean?

Growing up, I never really had a family. I mean yes, I have relatives. But metaphorically, I was alone. So when I was told I was going to a MYNA camp, I was scared. I’d grown up in many broken homes — we moved a lot — and never kept a friendship longer than a year. Going to a Muslim camp full of people where I was expected to make friends seemed too good to be true. Along with that, I was afraid that if I didn’t do everything right, my parents would find out and punish me. But I went and, to my surprise, enjoyed myself. That week, I made friends. By my next camp, I felt that they were promoted to a family to me. My now best friends of 9 and 3 years, one of whom I was reintroduced to at a camp, were my sisters. The advisors are like parents. The chant wars were sibling rivalries. We have our moments, but what is a family without any?

In the beginning of this post, I asked what a family really means. To me, a family is the people around you who unconditionally love you, support you, and are there for you. A family isn’t just those you share blood with, but those you share a stronger bond with. MYNA truly is a family, and I couldn’t ask for a better one.