Saturday, June 24, 2006

Summertime at Camp

Welcome Back!

Beach Towels Decorate a Cabin Porch

Milk for Little Cows Arrives Via Holstein Truck

Poland, Kazakhstan, and Great Britain

It's late July, I'm turning ten, and I'm in the middle of my first two-month sojourn at summer camp. I'm -- finally! -- learning to swim and to ride. The Wicked Stepmother is 500 miles away and I'm reveling in freedom and independence as I act in plays, scramble around waterfalls, and soak up the beauty of the hemlocks and mountain laurel of the Blue Ridge.

When my own kids go to camp and, eventually, become counselors, I am reminded of how gently I was introduced to the wideness of the world in the context of a North Carolina Valley. Their counselors were from Poland, New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa, and Ireland. My son loved the Russian kitchen crew with whom he worked and camped out; my daughter and her co-counselor are sharing their cabin with two young women from Uzbekistan. My own memories include Shane and Sami, two young men from Ireland and Lebanon who were counselors for a cabin of boys way at the top of the hill, and who were full of laughter and fun. I have always remembered them because it was not until several years later that I grasped just how difficult some parts of the world are and, having known Shane and Sami, I have never really been able to undertand why. If only every 10-year-old spent a month or two in the mountains playing soccer and going swimming with counselors from all over the world, perhaps this wordd would be a different place.

The Lovely Camp Counselor is having a wonderful session with a great group of girls after that first difficult week with young ladies who were inconstant terror of being consumed by spiders. Her words of wisdom, after a camp-out in which the campers showed far more stamina than their counselors:

"Mom, it's SO much easier to be up all night because the girls are laughing and telling stories than because they are upset and want to go home!"


Lisa :-] said...

Wonderful summery post! I want to go...

Cynthia said...

Can I be in Lisa's cabin? What we need is a summer camp for grownups.

Kathryn said...

For whatever reason, my own children seem too timid for this type of adventure although I dearly wish they could have it. My 11yo will this summer finally acquiesce to full-day, day camp.

I have great memories of camp but only for a week at a time and usually for gymnastics. I want my kids to have memories like yours.

Carol said...

The Seeds of Peace Camp in Maine works somewhat on the premise that you've espoused. They bring Israeli and Arab kids together to learn, understand, grow, and experience nature in hopes of gaining a newfound respect for and understanding of each other. Thereby, the premise is that they are planting the "seeds of peace".

I agree that camp is a magical place that frequently transforms a child's life.