Monday, June 08, 2009

Summer Camp

It could be because the school year has come to a close, or it could just be the warm weather, but every year around this time I get nostalgic for summer camp. I was a camper for five years and a counselor for two years at Camp Sloane in Lakeville, CT. Every so often people will ask me if I was ever a camp counselor and I proudly reply in the affirmative. Apparently the character traits stay with you (the last time I was asked was in a trade show booth in response to my peppy attitude after having repeated basically the same sales pitch for hours upon hours).

As an adult, there is an unspoken - or in many cases acknowledged and spoken - bond among people who at one time were summer camp counselors. I've grown closer with people in the workplace after connecting about our mutual love of camp. It's got to be something special when a group of people write a (hysterical!) book about it called Camp Camp.

But camp is most especially special to me because it's where I met my husband. Most of you have heard this story, so please bare with me as a recount the series of events for our not-yet-in-the-know readers. EJ and I were just pals at camp. In fact, I think we dated just about everyone else in our mutual circle of friends except each other. He smoked back then. We kept in touch for a while in and after college, but life sent him to Spain and me back to NYC and we ultimately lost touch. Then in 2001 he moved to my hometown and we ended up living about 4 blocks from each other. Once we ran into each other, the rest was history.

We're planning a trip back to camp at the end of the summer for the annual family camp/reunion weekend so it's down memory lane we go. And where does an intergeek turn to take that stroll? The Facebook of course, where there are about 4 groups devoted to our beloved camp - at least 2 of which are regularly updated. But tonight, browsing through hundreds of photos of people I don't know wasn't enough. I took the plunge and scanned and uploaded just under 20 photos of my own.

I'm sitting here now peering at these photos and thinking about what a wonderful time in my life that was. I don't know the numbers of kids going to summer camp these days, but knowing that children are increasingly more sheltered and attended to by their parents worries me that the value of summer camp has changed dramatically. Let me share with you the importance of summer camp and then I will get off my soapbox. If you want to instill any of the following values and character traits in your children, summer camp is the way to do it: friendship, independence, teamwork, time management, creativity, campfire-building, lanyard-weaving, the butterfly stroke, singing, kick-balling, horseback riding and archery.

1 comment:

Childs said...

Oh MAN I love camp! My heart belongs to Camp Ton-A-Wanda and always will.