Being the youngest of five, and having two sisters to boot, you can imagine I wanted to do everything my sisters did. Going to camp was no exception. My siblings all went and so I couldn’t wait until I was old enough (9) to go, too. I’m sure I probably had some homesickness that first year, but I had enough fun that I kept going back for the following four summers.
We all attended Camp Pendalouan near Muskegon, Michigan. It’s your typical YMCA sleep away camp nestled on a calm, wooded lake. I’m sure it’s like many other camps out there, but it was special to us thanks to the counselors and friends made over the years.
And it’s camp, what’s not to love? You get to have a sleep over for 10 straight days, your parents aren’t there, you get to drink bug juice, eat French Toast Sticks and Fried Chicken, kayak, horseback ride, swim, do the high ropes course, make friendship bracelets and sing songs all day long.
I know I’ve driven plenty of my “non-camp” friends crazy with my weird songs and silly stories. But alas, I can’t help it. Camp helped make me my quirky self.
As we reached our teens and early twenties, my middle sister, Maureen, and I half joked about starting a summer camp of our own. We day dreamed about where it would be, how it would be laid out, what activities we’d offer, what songs we’d sing (definitely Princess Pat), what it would be called and what we’d name each cabin.
We both were Camp Counselors for a summer each. She went to California and I went to North Carolina. Both challenging but great experiences (and it’s where she met her husband!). We too sang songs, sat around the campfire and led campers in different activities. I learned a lot when the roles were reversed, that’s for sure (it’s not all fun and games).
Since we haven’t achieved that camp dream, yet, I thought it would be fun to create a virtual summer camp series for the blog. After all, it was my childhood summer escape and definitely sparked my crafty side and honed my riflery skills (beat the boys!). We’ll explore different aspects of camp life, of course, re-interpreted in my own way.
So, without further ado:
To kick things off, let’s review a few classic camp movies…for those of you who missed out on the real thing as kids, these movies don’t compare, but they’ll just have to do to give you a taste of what you missed:
Summer Camp! Documentary
Or perhaps listen to Ira Glass’ This American Life episode ‘Notes on Camp‘.
And I can’t WAIT for the new Wes Anderson flick, Moonrise Kingdom to come out later this month. Not completely based on camp, but I highly enjoy his movies.
More Camp Wanderlust posts will be coming at you throughout the next few weeks of summer among regular posts as well. Stay tuned!