Summer camp memories

Filed under: Teens, Places To Go, Development/Milestones: Babies, In The News, Day Care & Education

As the end of summer slowly approaches (and it would have to given the unbelievable heat), I find myself thinking about my favorite memories of summers past. The part of me that will always be a kid resurfaces every summer to reminisce about summer days past before tucking them quietly away for autumn.

Even though summer is technically June 20-something through September 20-something, for me summer is always June 1st through August 31st. Somewhere in there, whichever way you bookend it, was always summer camp. Now, my husband never went to camp. It's one of the great mysteries of my life that he never did this, as some of my greatest memories from childhood and summer are wrapped up in events from summer camp.

I went to several different kinds of camps. The last one was somewhere in Michigan--heaven knows why, and I don't remember who or how it was picked--even though I'm sure there were plenty of good ones in Kentucky, my home state. At that camp, which was essentially for tweener girls, I learned that I never wanted to go to camp with only tweener girls again.

Of course, no one had come up with the term "tweener" yet. That camp was fun--we learned how to water ski and sail and we did lots of arts and crafts things--but we never really "camped." We did have to use outhouses, though, so that was somewhat camplike.

When I was younger, I went to camp somewhere in the woods in Kentucky. Now that was REAL camp. It wasn't sleep-away camp except for one night at the end of the whole thing, but given all the time we spent in mother nature it still served as a full-fledged camp. There was no sailing, if you know what I mean.

It was there I discovered and honed my terrible fear of spiders. There were brown wolf spiders the size of I don't know what pretty much EVERYWHERE. There were tales told of strange beasts in the woods that would kidnap children who, uh, didn't mind their counselors. There were smoresmaking and camp fires.

We swam and explored the woods and excelled at being kids. Those were some of the most fun-filled days in my life, full of new friends and creepy, crawly things that actually gave me more of an appreciation--no, love!--for the outdoors. Even spiders.

Although I can't remember how old I was when I went to this summer camp and I don't really know where it was, I can still remember the feeling of arriving on the warm, post-rain mornings. The sky was still grey and cloudy but we knew we had tons of fun awaiting us. I remember the songs I learned there. I remember the feeling of moist soil in my hands and Kentucky clay on the bottoms of my shoes.

I fully intend to send my son to summer camp when he is old enough. I want him to wander through the woods--what's left of them--and see what nature has to offer. I want him to prove there are spiders THAT big floating around and pass on lore about beasts in the woods.

For me there was nothing like sleeping in my sleeping bag--which thankfully was NOT full of spiders--in a tent or a bungalow or under the stars. Living in the city as I do now, even though we're next to a beautiful park--is simply not the same. I don't want my kiddo to grow up not knowing about those sorts of childhood things that give us such great memories.

Do you have any great camp memories you'd like to share? I of course could go one for days!

Great pic of "Foo Camp" by miss roque.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.