Growing up ...

Summer Camp: A right of passage

Love it or hate it? July 17, 2022

It’s a right of passage…

Going away to summer camp.

This morning, Sam headed off to his first overnight camp, Camp Oswegatchie, New York’s summer FFA camp.

I thought back to when I went to camp, all those years ago.  Camp Nellie Huckins, a girl scout camp in northern NH.  My cousin, Jess, and I went together.

All winter long, we had looked forward to it.  Planning our outfits as we rode up the T-bar at Highland’s ski area, we voraciously looked over the camp booklet, getting excited at all the fun activities.  On those winter days it seemed so far away and for only 2 short weeks. Could it possibly last long enough?   We were going to have so much fun!

And then we got there.  

Let’s just put it this way, my cousin and I quickly determined that we were not quite the summer camp type. 

(Maybe it was because we were farm kids?)

As soon as we got dropped off, all I remember thinking about was going home.

In my mind, everything was wrong. I hated swimming in the cold lake at 8 in the morning.  I hated waking up to a very loud trumpet every morning and falling asleep to Martha crying in her bed every night.  She was the lucky one who got her period for the first time on the first day of camp.  It was bad.

The waterskiing wasn’t that great either–as I was used to doing it my way at the lake, and arts and crafts were so dull, I hated macrame. And I remember feeling so sleepy in the afternoons when it was our turn in that building.  I just wanted a nap.

All Jess and I did were feed the ill feelings toward camp between the 2 of us for the entire 2 weeks.

It was before texting or email, so I wrote letters…so many letters.  The letters to my parents and grandparents were ridiculous, and today, they are quite hilarious to read.  I was truly pathetic.  We were truly pathetic!

Amid the daily pining that my cousin and I did to go home, we didn’t look around and enjoy all that camp had to offer.  I do remember an awesome field day with tug-o-war and sack races.  That was fun, right?  

The songs were catchy, and the food wasn’t half bad.  “Bug juice” and cornbread.  I loved those. 

Jess and I got to jump off of the high diving tower too. And vespers was really fun and spooky.

It would be great to have someone tell me to kayak, eat, sing songs around a campfire, and go to the Cantina for a snack now.  Sign me up!

Last night, Sam was lamenting the fact that he had signed up to go.  For 2 cents, he would have canned the entire thing.  Thank heavens he had a friend going.   They commiserated about all that they were going to miss by being gone.  Both are farm kids and hate missing out on anything.  

Honestly, this could go either way.  Complete success or complete failure, we shall see come Friday.

I can guarantee, though, it will be about campfires, swimming tests, and mosquitos. Sticky hands, dirty feet, and camp songs.  

And after all of that, Sam will have to decide if he wants to go again.  He is a farm kid. A farm is where fun and different things happen every day.  It’s like having your very own summer camp when you are 13 in your backyard.

I think that’s how I felt too.  I had everything I could want on the farm with my family.  I didn’t need summer camp.

But maybe, that is what the beauty of summer camp is?  Being gone makes you realize how much you love what you have and where you live.

I am glad that I had the opportunity to go; I can say that I had the experience of going to summer camp.  And I am happy that Sam wanted to go too.

I will be thinking of him this week.  My gut tells me that it will be a success!

Have a great week!

With love,