Why camp?

>> 4.25.2011

I've been fascinated with camp since age 6. I remember poring over a brochure for the camp I ultimately would attend: "3 days and 2 nights for 6-8 year olds." Not sure how it started, but given that most camps have beaches, golf carts, clipboards, and walkie-talkies, well, let's just say my obsessions have be consistent for decades.

Side note: To be clear, we are not talking about camping; we are talking about camps. Camps, where you eat indoors, bunk in cabins, and don't have to dig a hole when nature calls. If it involves tents and bear-proofing your food, I want no part of it. I remember searching the library for non-fiction books about going to camp, packing for camp, anything. Nope. Just how to start a campfire with twigs and the hiker's guide to poisonous critters. No thanks.

But in the world of fiction, more specifically, in my dad's classroom library, I discovered the classic tome Sal Fisher at Girl Scout Camp. Sal's adventures at Camp Lenoloc made me yearn for my own camp experience. Yes, I captured the book before it was weeded from the shelves and am reading it to my own daughter, who has not expressed any interest in heading to the land of s'mores.

So were all my camp adventures rosy? Not so much, but I still look back on them fondly, and I even returned during high school to the camp of my childhood to be a junior counselor for a couple weeks. My first "3-day, 2-night" camp weekend was postponed when my friend got chicken pox right before we were scheduled to leave. My first full week of camp involved a friend who thought the camp (two hours away) was too far away. (She has since lived in South Africa and London. I think I'll take partial credit for making her leave home.) That week was marked by an ill-fated night in a tent (see... always a bad idea), when the severe thunderstorm hit and flooded us into a van back to camp.

At some point we'll send the child to camp, but it won't be the one I attended, which closed just last year. Guess I need to research mother/daughter camp adventures.


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