Summer Camp Blues

CampThe first time my daughter Kyla attended girl scout summer camp, I was one of the volunteer chaperones who rode up to the mountains with the campers. It was a two-hour bouncy ride on an old yellow school bus, and my daughter clung to my side like a limpet.

Still, as soon as we arrived, she quickly said goodbye and lined up with her new cabin mates. However, that eagerness to begin a new adventure did not translate to a cheerful postcard home after her first day at camp.

My kid, who had never expressed a jot of homesickness during previous campouts with her scout troop, suddenly missed me with exclamation points.

Camp 2And despite the fact that she:

  • (√) made new friends
  • (√) sang songs
  • (√) played games, and
  • (√) had lots of fun,

she definitely kept expectations firmly in check on her overall assessment of Camp Sherman.

Bypassing choices like “Is the best” or “Has lots to do,” Kyla wrote-in her own answer to describe the camp: “OK but I’ll tell you.”

My daughter even added a question mark after the pre-printed line “Well, I am off to have more fun,” just to let me know that she was reserving judgement. And then there’s her message on the card’s reverse…

Yet, for weeks after she returned home, Kyla regaled me with tales of cool counselors and the little frogs by the lake, and sang all the funny new songs that she had learned.

Maybe one’s first week at summer camp is an experience best enjoyed in retrospect. Does anyone have their own fond — or foul — memories of camp?

4 thoughts on “Summer Camp Blues

  1. Jeanne Lambson says:

    Oh, my! Do I have memories of my church-sponsored girls camp?! As a teen, we went to a camp in Idyllwild, California and I loved all four years. There were cabins and a pool with a cute life guard to admire. There was singing and skits and hikes and pranks. And the food was fine. If we were found with our elbows on the table, the whole mess hall would sing “get your elbows off the table, Jeanne dear” and when the song was finished, I would have to run around the lodge. I made sure I NEVER put my elbows on the table.

    Now, as an adult, back in the late eighties, I was a camp counselor for one year and had a wonderful time. Loved the girls in my group. Then, I was made the camp director for the next three years and I do not have very fond memories of that experience, aside from the women I worked with who were fabulous. I am still good friends with them all today. But the months of organizing and the equipment hauling and the dealing with emotional teen-age girls just puts a knot in my stomach even now.

    • Susan Lendroth says:

      Oh yes, elbows on the table. I confess that I would be sentenced to run around the table in my own dining room nowadays. 🙂

  2. Phoebe Conn says:

    I had a wonderful time at Girl Scout camp with my troop. What I recall most vividly was a near endless hike. I got a blister on my foot and came limping back to the camp last. Apparently the counselors didn’t carry band-aids, but they should have!

    • Susan Lendroth says:

      Yes, blisters stick in the mind. I remember getting one in Japan, walking into a strange hotel (not mine) and trying to find the right word in my tiny dictionary to request one at the service desk.

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