Live Through This

Summer Camp

Noncampers just don’t understand. Here, an attempt to explain.

Illustration by Monica

Illustration by Monica

When people ask, “What’s your favorite place in the world?” I have two answers: Disney World and summer camp. I don’t need to explain the first one—it’s the Happiest Place on Earth!™ As for the second, the only people who need an explanation are the unlucky ones who’ve never been to camp. There’s just something about it that defies reason, that transcends geography and bends time. Camp isn’t really a place at all—it’s a feeling, a spirit. No matter where you went to summer camp or when, you know what I’m talking about. You feel it in your heart.

I know that all of you noncampers out there are rolling your eyes right now. When camp people talk about camp, we can sound like cult members. To tell you the truth, we kind of are. We’re crazily devoted to this community that asks us to leave our family, friends, and cell phones behind to hang out in the woods and learn secret chants and rituals and do trust exercises and become One of Them (Us). And all we want is more—eight weeks each summer is never, ever enough. And, just like a cult, it only looks weird from the outside. Once you’re a true camper, it’s the rest of the year that feels wrong.

I won’t attempt to explain the inexplicable, but I can, perhaps, give noncampers a window into the world of camp and show you a bit of what makes it so great. Though to be honest it’s a bit mysterious to us lifers as well.

I. Camp Friends

I’ve spent eight years of my life as a camper and six as a counselor, all at the same place, a Jewish camp in Florida that my mom picked out when I was seven years old. I was a quiet, cautious kid, scared to try new things or to stick my neck out. Then, as now, it was hard for me to outwardly show my emotions. But there was something liberating about camp. None of these people went to my school or knew anything of the social hierarchies there. There was no stress about looking good (there’s really not much you can do about that when you’re playing outside all day in 100-degree weather together). The only thing you’re concerned about at camp is “What fun things are on the schedule today?” You’re not getting graded for anything you do, so you feel free to experiment. In such a creative, stress-free environment, one that is primarily concerned with sun and fun, it’s hard not to fall in love with everyone and everything around you.

On the first day of camp, everyone gets together and introduces themselves, and then we’re off to our first activity. There’s no time to split off into cliques or to cast judgment on anyone—you’re still trying to commit everyone’s names to memory when you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a game of freeze-dance with 20 other kids. At the end of the day you go to your cabin, where you’re squeezed into a room with four to seven other kids—that becomes your friend group, your team, your family. And everyone supports one another, just like family.

The summer between my seventh and eighth grades, the camp took us on an overnight trip to Myrtle Beach. On the way, the bus broke down on the side of the highway for what felt like hours. We sat in the bus waiting, sweaty and miserable—I remember someone got off the bus to throw up. You know how when a bunch of girls live in close quarters for a while, all of their periods sync up? Well, it seemed like everyone on that bus that day had their period. We finally got the bus going again, and then, perhaps caused by a combination of that inevitable menstrual synchrony and some stress-induced hormonal surge, the one girl who hadn’t started menstruating yet…started menstruating. Right there, right then, on this sweaty, miserable bus. We pulled over at the next rest stop, and a few campers and counselors took her into the bathroom and taught her how to use a tampon. That, to me, captures true camp spirit.

At camp, you’re never left to fend for yourself. No matter what’s going on—an acute bout of homesickness, a heartbreak, or just frustration over not being able to make a basket in basketball—your fellow campers and your counselors are always there to offer help, or at least a shoulder to cry on. Camp is about building one another up and creating a community, so no matter how you feel the rest of the year, it’s almost impossible to feel alone and misunderstood at camp. Camp is basically designed to create new shared experiences and to foster bonding, so the friendships you make there feel extra special. I rarely talk to anyone from elementary, middle, or high school, but the camp friends I made during that same period are still some of my favorite people in the world, and I will keep in touch with them for the rest of my life. We still quote inside jokes we came up with when we were 12. There’s just something about camp friends.

II. Color War

Color War, usually held during the last week of camp, is where the entire camp is split into two teams—red and blue at my camp—to compete in a weeklong battle of games, sports, songs, cheers, and other displays of “spirit.” At home I was never really into sports or competition, but Color War brings out the fighting spirit in everyone. When that week came around, I made it my personal mission to lose my voice cheering, “B-L-U-E, THAT SPELLS VICTORY!” I’d walk down the halls with my team, ready to demolish our opponents in kickball, screaming, “HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR CARROTS? RAW, RAW, RAW! HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR COLESLAW? SLAW, SLAW, SLAW! HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR SWEETHEART? SWEET, SWEET, SWEET! AND HOW DO YOU LIKE THE RED TEAM? BEAT, BEAT, BEAT!” We weren’t allowed to wear face paint, but I took out every blue item I had in my closet and laid them all out to be sure I had enough to last five days: headbands, knee socks, shoelaces-turned-bracelets—you name it, I piled it on in the 100-degree heat.

Suddenly, every single activity felt like it would make or break the entire contest. Did your side lose a game? Make sure you cheer, “Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciated? RED! RED! GOOOOOO, RED!” to gain extra points for sportsmanship. Are you sitting in the corner while everyone else is playing soccer? You’re getting precious participation points docked from your entire team’s score. My favorite part of Color War was learning our team song and cheer (always in secret so the other team couldn’t steal our lyrics), which we would perform in front of the entire camp at closing ceremonies. We’d sit on opposite sides of the gym, seas of red and blue, everyone completely exhausted but still energized and ready to give their all to the judges. You got points for being respectful, so the gym was usually silent but buzzing with nervous energy between performances. It was always a blast to end the week singing my heart out (“Blue pride / Lives on in tiiiime / Forever / We’ve played / These games / With all our heaaarts”) and showcasing what teamwork can accomplish through songs, cheers, and skits. The announcement of the winning team is high drama—there are always tears. Color War took all the emotions and energy of the whole summer, condensed them into a few days, and then amplified them to an insane degree. I lived for Color War.

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74 Comments

  • Sophie ❤ June 10th, 2013 7:38 PM

    OMG, I loved this! Just the title, Summer Camp, made me think of my favorite time of the year. :)

    http://plainlysophie.com

  • flapperhatgirl June 10th, 2013 7:49 PM

    Have any of you guys been to Opequin Quaker Camp?

    • maddyr June 10th, 2013 9:18 PM

      Logging in to leave maybe my third comment ever to say that I went to Shiloh! (which, for those not up on their Quaker camp trivia, is one of the other three camps in our wonderful, super tight community.) My best friend went to Opequon for a summer, and another went to Catoctin for years and years and years (actually the only one of our foursome who didn’t go to a BYM camp was Lauren, who takes pictures for Rookie sometimes).

      • flapperhatgirl June 11th, 2013 11:25 PM

        Yay! Another Quaker Camper.
        :)

  • gr-ass June 10th, 2013 7:54 PM

    this was honestly the perfect post. i’m going to jewish camp (aka my favorite place) in the world for 8 weeks this summer and i couldnt be more excited! all my school friends are like, “why would you want to be at jew camp for 8 weeks???” and me and my camp friends are counting down the days and now its a week and im so excited and wow perfect post!

    • Tyler June 10th, 2013 10:28 PM

      JEW CAMP FOREVER.

    • AnaRuiz June 10th, 2013 10:44 PM

      I go to one of those too! This year, however, I was a counselor, and it wasn’t the same. :( Hope I will end up liking it anyways.

      http://anaruizwriting.blogspot.com

    • Jes June 11th, 2013 2:08 AM

      yo we jews can get pretty krazy at camp.

      • bananahannac June 11th, 2013 6:43 PM

        ^^^Heck yes!! I live for Jewish camp song sessions :) Any NFTY peeps here too?

  • Suzy X. June 10th, 2013 7:54 PM

    AND THE CAMP SONGS. Never forget the camp songs!

  • Suzy X. June 10th, 2013 7:55 PM

    This one always made me tear up at the end of the summer:

    Mmm, mmm I want to linger
    Mmm, mmm a little longer
    Mmm, mmm a little longer here with you.

    Mmm, mmm it’s such a perfect night
    Mmm, mmm it doesn’t seem quite right
    Mmm, mmm that it should be my last with you.

    Mmm, mmm and come September
    Mmm, mmm we will remember
    Mmm, mmm our camping trips and friendships true.

    Mmm, mmm and as the years go by
    Mmm, mmm I’ll think of you and sigh
    Mmm, mmm this is “good night” and not “goodbye.”

    • linds321 June 11th, 2013 2:38 PM

      ^^^ we sing this at the end of the summer at my camp too :”’)

    • KatGirl July 21st, 2013 6:18 PM

      <3

  • Isil June 10th, 2013 8:11 PM

    My mother’s kinda forcing me to go a camp for uni students, and I haven’t really decided but this article is really inspirational, thanks!

    http://isilnoir.wordpress.com

  • GlitterKitty June 10th, 2013 8:13 PM

    <3 <3 I love camp so much. I only go for 2 weeks during the summer but I love it so so so much. I can't even begin to describe it. At my camp we have a dance party at the end of every week. For the last song the whole camp gets in a big circle and one of the counsellor's gets in the middle with a guitar and sings the camp song. We all join in and sway in a circle and it's magical. I'm an LIT this year (basically the same as a camper but with more freedom and fun stuff). And the whole period synching up thing is totally true and the scariest thing ever.

  • KatGirl June 10th, 2013 8:19 PM

    When I was about 11, I went to a sleepaway camp for the first time. I was in a tent (platform tents) with one of my best friends, and two other girls I didn’t know at all. And by the end of the week, I knew literally ALL about these girls. We spent all of our free time (and before most people were up/after we should have gone to sleep) just talking. It was awesome. CAMP IS AWESOME.

  • Clara Barnes June 10th, 2013 8:22 PM

    I’ve always wantes to go to camp! But I don’t think there are any in Buenos Aires

  • pearl irene June 10th, 2013 8:45 PM

    This is literally so true for me but in a different sense. I feel like the west coast doesn’t have the same “entire summer” camp culture that is on the east coast but anyway. My story:

    I’ve gone to the same Girl Scout day camp since the summer before first grade, was a camper until middle school, and now it’s my last year as a counselor and I don’t know what to do with myself. <3 camp

  • Maddy June 10th, 2013 8:56 PM

    This has helped me understand the mindset of “camp people” a little! I’ve never ever been to overnight camp and this summer I’m spending 6 weeks at a number theory camp (aka math camp)! I’m excited, but I think it’s very different from the type of camp you’ve described.

    • Tyler June 10th, 2013 11:17 PM

      That sounds really, really cool and I hope you have an awesome time!

  • Sarah P June 10th, 2013 9:08 PM

    I love camp so much, oh my goodness! I literally start counting down the days months in advance :)

  • Abby June 10th, 2013 9:36 PM

    GUYS I miss camp :(… like literally so much. I haven’t done it in a while and I regret that sooo much, because now that I’m in college I have to do adult stuff like internships and real jobs. It’s awful.

  • jessmargo June 10th, 2013 9:49 PM

    This was so helpful to read, my friend and I are non-campers and were actually just talking about how camps probably put everyone on some weird drug to make them be in forever in love with camp. I love the illustration as well!

  • queennannygoat June 10th, 2013 9:51 PM

    I know this site is primarily for the USA but not everyone can go to camp- have the chance or afford it. That being said I’m glad you’ve had such a good time, but not everyone has the same experiences, or enjoys it. I’ve been to camp but didn’t have the same lovely time you did, so I think it’s important to say that not everyone will enjoy camp, even if they really try.

    • Tyler June 10th, 2013 11:34 PM

      I know I was very lucky/privileged in being able to get financial aid to afford camp and in being able to attend camp at all. I’m definitely very conscious of that. I also know that not everyone loves camp, but people who hate camp generally don’t go back year after year. This specific piece was about my personal experience as a “lifer,” or someone who spends their entire youth/young adulthood at camp. This wasn’t intended to be a “EVERYONE GO TO CAMP NOW” piece, but more of a reflection on what camp culture has been like in my life. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy camp, but I hope you’ve found something you love to do in the summer!

  • kolumbia June 10th, 2013 10:06 PM

    I went to Duke TIP for three years (I’m too old to go now!) and it was amazing! It’s a summer studies camp that lasts for three weeks, and it sounds really dorky to spend your summer taking a class, but I learned SO MUCH about writing there. Even better, I met my best friend who I’m still best friends with, and so many other amazing people. I grew as a person and learned to appreciate my ability to be myself because of TIP. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone else who has the opportunity.

    http://kittydrawscomics.tumblr.com/

    • Tyler June 10th, 2013 11:12 PM

      Did you also take the SAT in 7th grade? That’s all I did through Duke TIP. Good times…

  • Katherine20 June 10th, 2013 10:33 PM

    I wish I had been lucky enough to get to go to summer camp. It sounds magical.

    ~Katherine
    http://kimkatfunspot.blogspot.com/

  • decemberflower June 10th, 2013 11:01 PM

    What if there was a Rookie camp?!?! O.o

    I had bad experiences at camp, but I would attend the HELL out of that.

    • Jes June 11th, 2013 2:10 AM

      OMG CAN YOU IMAGINE ROOKIE CAMP?? THIS HAS BEEN MY HAPPIEST THOUGHT IN DAYS.

      • decemberflower June 11th, 2013 12:43 PM

        ACTUALLY THOUGH IT WOULD BE WONDERLAND OF HAPPINESS AND MAGIC like what if the staff writers were our counselors omg

        • lauraunicorns June 12th, 2013 4:23 PM

          NO WAY I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE THINKING OF THAT
          Guys guys guys now I know where I want to spend the entire rest of my life basically

  • Princess Mononoke June 10th, 2013 11:07 PM

    Camp is awesome! But I’ve only ever been to day camp :( overnight camp sounds like so much fun though. I wish there was a Rookie camp!

  • Tara A. June 10th, 2013 11:11 PM

    I’ve never been to summer camp, but after reading this I wish I had gone at some point! It sounds like so much fun.

    http://www.unlockingpandorasbox.blogspot.com

  • Wildwind June 10th, 2013 11:22 PM

    Please tell me someone else was thinking the same thing as me through the entire second section- “IT’S MACABBIAH!!!!”

    • Tyler June 10th, 2013 11:36 PM

      I feel that. We actually call it “Maccabi Games” at my camp, BUT that only started in 2002. When I first came to camp, it was called Color War, so to this day “Maccabi Games” still sounds so much less intense/exciting to me.

    • TamponAngel June 11th, 2013 11:08 AM

      did you go to eisner? MY COUSIN GOES THERE.

      • Wildwind June 11th, 2013 6:53 PM

        No, a different URJ camp. But I <3 the URJ and NFTY!

        • bananahannac June 11th, 2013 10:02 PM

          AHHH NFTY!!! I’m in PAR!!

    • bananahannac June 11th, 2013 6:39 PM

      My dad went to Eisner, my mom went to GUCCI, and I go to Harlam in Pennsylvania! These are all Union for Reform Judaism camps. At Harlam, we call it “Maccabiah,” too!

  • InProgress June 11th, 2013 1:29 AM

    This piece is mindblowingly accurate. It sums up everything about summer camp, and yes it is the BEST PLACE ON EARTH. I have to go share this article with all my camp friends now so we can flip out about it and get hyped up about the start of camp this summer :) Thanks Tyler!

  • kittyweasel June 11th, 2013 2:21 AM

    I ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO CAMP. I would literally BEG my mom and dad to send me away for 6-8 weeks, AND THEY NEVER DID. I blame that show, “Bug Juice”, for my camp lust. And now this article def sums up what I knew I was missing all along! Haha

  • elliecp June 11th, 2013 2:25 AM

    I spent my childhood wishing I could go to summer camp. It always seemed so exciting

    http://roseandvintage.blogspot.com/

  • Fiona Pelz June 11th, 2013 2:54 AM

    Ahhhhh you got me all emosh over this because I’m not going to camp this summer! :’( But it’s so true how non-campers don’t understand….like homesick? What homesick? I’ll be campsick! :P

  • Dick June 11th, 2013 3:46 AM

    I’m now upset with my mother because she didn’t enroll me in camp. :(

  • emeraldruby June 11th, 2013 4:19 AM

    Sometimes I wish I was American just so I could go on a camp like this!! I’m Australian, and our summer holidays are only like six or seven weeks long!! Not fair, summer camp sounds like so much fun!

  • AidaA June 11th, 2013 5:43 AM

    Summer camp in the US seems wayyyyyy better than summer camp in the UK! Sounds like something you’d never forget

    http://sunshinesuperwoman.blogspot.co.uk

  • Saana V June 11th, 2013 7:14 AM

    wow i have never been on a camp like that, summer camps are not a big thing around here. Like, the church keeps a camp for ten year olds (i didn’t go there wow) and when you are turning 15 you are supposed to go to a church camp thing before your confirmation, (idk if this is a thing in other countries. it’s actually pretty dumb. mine is next week)

    But i’m a scouter tho, but scout camps are so different. I just came home from a big camp (over 3000 scouters or something) specially for kids aged 7-11, it was my first big camp as a leader and it was awful tbh. It lasted only for four days but our girls were tired and homesick and we didn’t have a chance to go for a swim alone or even get a shower. I was exhausted and stressed out and didn’t sleep well in a tent full of giggling children.

    I have another scout camp before school starts and i’m actually waiting for that bc i don’t have to worry about my kids all the time (they also went missing time to time and got knife wounds bc they weren’t careful and gosh it was hard) but i am taken care of and i can actually have fun. camps are the best thing – even though they are different from the camps there.

  • Serena Head June 11th, 2013 8:29 AM

    This was great <3 <3

  • Chloe22 June 11th, 2013 9:20 AM

    I have never been to overnight camp (not because i’m a baby but because the one opportunity i got was with a group of ”nice church kids” who liked killing frogs and making sure i knew how sacreligious it was to be vegetarian), but being the hip city kid i am i’ve gone to tons of day camps run by improv theaters and the best one: A camp about independent films! I’ve met super awesome people there, but sometimes people get really weird. Like, the camp is literally one week and then you have an option for a free half day program, and everyone makes these cliques. We have girly girls, music purists, and One Direction Fans. I’m in all of them. They treat it like school sometimes, which majorly sucks. Probably the most exciting thing to happen was when someone spray painted ”Everything Burns” across the movie theater. I think we even had a few ”She stole my boyfriend” fights too. I love camp stories!
    http://rhinestonemoon.blogspot.com/

  • Graciexx June 11th, 2013 9:26 AM

    I live in Australia and at my school we have a sort of compulsory camp thingy, which is basically like what you described above except for the fact that we have our teachers not councellors :( it’s really fun though!

    most of the ones that I’ve been on only go for about 3 days, but a couple months ago our school sent us on a trip to this city WAAYYY out west in the middle of nowhere and it was so much fun! we were in cabins and had to cook all our own food, so as you can imagine we mainly ate nutella and milo the whole time :)

    I got really close with a lot of girls who I didn’t really know, and now we have great friendships with heaps of inside jokes. We also got really close with our teachers, which was really good ’cause now I see them more as people rather than mean, pain causing minions who live for my torture

  • wc June 11th, 2013 9:33 AM

    I don’t think camps like these exist in england which is really sad because they sound so good, I’ve left school and have like the longest summer holiday ever this year and going to camp would totally make it so much greater

    • all-art-is-quite-useless June 11th, 2013 3:35 PM

      I live in England too so I’ve never been to camp either – are you finishing your gcses or a-levels? I’m just stopping my gcses and so excited for summer but also freaked out that I’m gonna get really bored… The closest I’ve ever come to camp is spending the evenings at the “kids’ club” in a hotel while my parents were having their evening meal and whatver, not really the same :(

      • hellorose June 11th, 2013 8:38 PM

        There are Outward Bound courses which I think involve a lot of outdoorsy things and falling out of boats into cold water, and also PGL holidays which I did twice. PGL also has overseas ones for slightly older kids/teens which have the added bonus of not being grey and gloomy for most of the summer! Personally, camp wasn’t for me, but I did do quite a few things there that I probably would not have done otherwise. (Going on rollercoasters being one, actually!) My friend used to go to a hippy camp in Somerset but I don’t know the name. I think there are quite a few small camps around the place, but not much on the scale of the American ones. If you live in or near a city there are often lots of week/fortnight long courses you can do learning about art/music/film/design. Go on museum websites or sometimes your local council will list things. There are often adverts up in schools for these things so ask your teachers. Also look for free events – the year I did my GCSEs T-Mobile was doing all these free gigs for T-Mobile customers so my friend and I would go along and queue for any extra tickets at the end if people didn’t show up. So much fun!

        Have a great summer, and I hope exams went well!!

      • wc June 12th, 2013 3:40 PM

        I’ve just finished gcse’s too, same I’m looking forward to the summer but pretty sure I’m going to get super bored at some point :(

        • wc June 12th, 2013 3:42 PM

          Oh and I’ve heard of PGL but didn’t know they did overseas ones, that’s worth checking out thank you! I’ve been looking at so many courses I could do, pretty sure that’s definitely going to happen! You have a great summer too!

    • RhiaSnape June 13th, 2013 11:32 AM

      I’m exactly the same, only 3 exams left for me now! Cannot wait until next Friday. But yeaah, I’ve never heard of anything like these American camps in England. I know of PGL but I really don’t think that’s anything like this, those camps are really based on sporting activities a lot of the time, it’s not like these places with cabins and campfires and inspirational counsellors. Dayum. Take me to America, and while I’m there let’s create a Rookie camp!

  • wallflower152 June 11th, 2013 9:56 AM

    I wish I would’ve gone to real camp. I watched Bug Juice every night and I imagined I was there. That show was so awesome and they looked like they had so much fun. I went to a week long camp in the hill country like an hour away from my house. Had some good times but it was no Camp Wazi.

  • MaddieMae June 11th, 2013 10:19 AM

    I’ve never been to an overnight camp, but I visited the one my aunt went to when she was younger (for a family camp thing), and it really made me wish my parents had made me go to summer camps when I was younger! I’m probably too old now :/

  • TamponAngel June 11th, 2013 11:07 AM

    AGHH CAMP. I went to this super rad hippie jew camp in New Hampshire called Windsor Mountain every summer for a month. It was honestly the best thing that ever happened to my self esteem. Like prior to camp I was this really reclusive bush baby of a 10 year old and then basically became a ~shining star~ at camp. All of my best friends are from my camp. Also, CAPTURE THE FLAG AM I RIGHT. I went really hard core like I was a capture the flag goddess. Camp was also the first time I like liked a boy like not a casual crush but I went full on trying to woo this boy. I once woke up in a tree, drove around in a conversion van at 3am, and learned the art of making people feel MASSIVELY UNCOMFORTABLE (it was a class i took called awkward o rama)

  • Rowena June 11th, 2013 12:55 PM

    I live in England and thus never got to go to “Summer Camp” despite fantasising about it endlessly after reading American books or watching films like The Parent Trap (CLASSIC), and actually this programme called Beaver Falls which is hilarious – was it shown in the US? Anyway, not being able to go to summer camp was the biggest injustice of my childhood.

    BUT ALAS, after reading this, I realise I have the same thing anyway. Every year on whit week I go to the Gaia Tribe Wildcraft and Creativity Camp (aka. Hippy Camp) and it is, as one man said at our closing circle this year, a heartsong. It is my home and it is the most magical thing ever. There’s no Colo(u)r Wars or competetivity but there is family and love and support and joy and fun and firsts and lifelong friends and spending aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall year wishing you were back there!!

    Thankyou for reminding me to listen to my heartsong!

  • Ally_O June 11th, 2013 4:37 PM

    Everything about this is so true! Camp is a huge part of my life and I wouldn’t be who I am today without it. This summer I’m going to be a CIT after being a camper for six years. Last summer I got a taste of what it feels like to make the magic happen because being the oldest age group we got to organize a theme day for the whole camp. I’m super excited to fully experience it now. Camp is pretty much the only place where I can truly be myself and it’s saved my life after some rough school years. Non-campies just don’t understand!

  • Inventing June 11th, 2013 5:19 PM

    I LOVED THIS SO MUCH!

    This totally captured the spirit of camp and I am now reminded of how much I love Camp JCA Shalom.

    You captured every aspect of camp and how everybody becomes so unified and now I’m just so excited for camp I’m going to scream!
    I’m also so excited to yet again, obsess over 4000 new guys and make every living moment awkward with them.

    Thank you so much Tyler for this post; I enjoyed it so much and I am now even more excited (if that’s possible) for camp because of you. Also your blog rocks.

    Thank you!

  • HollyMargaret June 11th, 2013 5:21 PM

    I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN about noncampers rolling their eyes and not understanding! I go to summer camp in the UK which is only one week long but by far the BEST week of my whole year! None of my friends from school understand, though!
    Great article!!! :-)

  • marengo June 11th, 2013 5:42 PM

    I get to work at a camp all summer for the first time! Words can’t describe how excited I am to be working in the kitchen and swimming every day and playing games with the staff and going out for supper every saturday afternoon and just generally having FUN :)

  • fashionforteens June 11th, 2013 11:07 PM

    Aww, this makes me wish I had gone to camp! I went to a one week “minicamp” in Vermont one time but I was a moody seventh grader and I wasn’t really all that into it. Sounds like being there through all of the shared experiences (even the bad ones) really makes you closer with people.

  • EmmaS June 12th, 2013 7:33 AM

    I live in Europe, so we don’t have camps like the US have. I have always wanted to be a part of it though, so thank you so much for this article. It made me so happy to read it. :D

  • Demmy June 12th, 2013 12:11 PM

    I’ve always wanted to go to a summer camp. They seem so fun. Unfortunately I live in Nigeria and we have no camps here. x

    demmydaily.blogspot.com

  • Angeline . June 15th, 2013 9:17 AM

    This was so lovely to read. I actually almost had tears in my eyes by the end of it. It makes me nostalgic for something i

  • Angeline . June 15th, 2013 9:20 AM

    This was so lovely to read. I actually almost had tears in my eyes by the end of it. It makes me nostalgic for something I never had. I’ve never been to summer camp and now wish I desperately had. I’m not a confident person at all with low self-esteem and I get quite anxious about doing certain things and I have a feeling camp would’ve helped with that.

    I do have just one similar experience like it though which was a term-long (8 weeks) camp as part of a school program. You could choose not to attend and instead undergo an alternative, but boy was I glad I went. It was amazing! We stayed on a farm for 2 months and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I’d do anything to relive it.

    Overall, such a great piece to read. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • barbroxursox June 18th, 2013 3:30 PM

    Wow, this is perfect! I totally agree that SOOO much emotion is packed into so little time. When I was an LDP (leadership development program, basically a step below CIT), I basically had a roller coaster of emotions. Because you are around the same few people for such a long time, you get to know each other really well and find things out about yourself you never knew. I’m always surprised at how open everyone is (and myself). My cabinmates and I cried multiple times but also had the time of our lives and developed more responsibility. Camp is a miracle, yo. I’ve had bad experiences but also some of the best experiences of my life, and I think that’s what makes it so awesome. :)

    http://lizard-onawindowpane.tumblr.com

  • graceegrape1 June 23rd, 2013 5:23 PM

    OMG, I can totally relate to this–the refreshing, liberated feeling and the high amount of emotions that are super compressed in such a short period of time.
    I’ve only been to camp once; it was in Korea and the program was called Global Korean Youth Network. At first, I thought I would make absolutely NO friends and feel like I was stuck in school again–quiet, reserved, shy–but I was so wrong. I made so many great friendships and learned that it’s okay to be afraid. Although it’s been 2 years and we all live in separate countries, my camp group still keeps in touch! Camp is amazing <3 and the nostalgia that comes afterwards punches you right in the heart.

    Thank you so much! I love this article!

    DO.RE.MI blah
    http://doremiblah.blogspot.com

  • allier June 29th, 2013 11:55 PM

    If any fellow emma kauffmann campers are on here, I LOVE YOU and oh my gosh EKC is the best. jew camp for life.

  • rippledux September 10th, 2013 1:03 PM

    i miss camp so much!!!! im from the uk so i go to a british camp called fsc and its amazing!!!!there are no buildings or cabins and when we first get to site its empty, its not a holiday resort. on hike, if we dont buy food or if we fail to cook, we dont eat. when i explain fsc to non fsc campers it sounds horrible only fsc campers would get it. its an amazing experience and you meet so many people there and the staff are usually in their early 20s – 30s or late teens so they arent boring. dont look it it up though, the website is terrible!!!