Sweet Summer Camp

Tube Tug

The summer after seventh grade, I went to summer camp for the first time. I thought I was the luckiest kid in the world- I never, ever thought I would be able to go to summer camp. My family was always poor, and we couldn’t really afford it. But somehow, some way, that summer, I got to go.

It was a religious camp, and I went with my youth group. I loved that group of people. The people who ran it were wonderful human beings, and they cared about each one of us as though we were their own children. I was friends with everyone there, both male and female, no matter how much older they were than me. We were like a small family, which is how any group should be.

First, each youth group was split into boys and girls (this was a religious camp remember, totally NOT co-ed) and we were put into the two separate dormitories. That year, the theme was military. Our girls were on the Navy team, and the boys of the Army (in future years we would be Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk; The Cunnighams or the Bradys). The entire week was a competition, smattered with everything from the evening activity, to daily bible verses, to daytime events. But all competition aside (the Navy won), the big deal was the End-of-Week Banquet.

The Banquet wasn’t so much a banquet as it was a barbecue. It was the only year I attended summer camp that we had one. The older girls in my youth group were absolutely determined to set me up with one of the boys – one of their brothers, in fact. I felt like Princess Mia in The Princess Diaries, the way they dolled me up. I didn’t mind being set up with Joshua; at the time, I was completely in crush with him. In the end, I think we only sat together, and we may have chattered awkwardly. It wasn’t one of those “sitting by the bonfire, sweet first kiss” kind of things (I wouldn’t get my first kiss for almost another four years).

There were other things that happened every year that made the camp awesome. There’s a game called Eniliation where everyone is on their hands and knees in the dirt and mud, trying to get a greased volleyball into a hole. And Tube Tug, which is pretty much what it sounds like; that was my favorite. The second and third year I was there, they had a mud slide and I remember competing with one of the boys from my youth group to see who could get muddier (because all freshman girls do that, right?). The last year I was there, we even had a mechanical bull.

And those are just the events. There are definitely a few people who stand out in my memory, too. Matthew, who was my pen pal for a year. Kaitlyn, who was deaf, but sung like an angel. Jessica, who was just crazy, goofy fun. Andrew, or “The Fonz”, who scared us nearly to death one night at activity when he got a concussion.

Summer camp at the Monadnock Bible Conference in Jaffrey was one of the things that kept me going through the year. Every summer, in the last week of July. If I wasn’t counting down to the next Harry Potter book, I was counting down to summer camp. In the end, not all memories are perfect. I remember being frustrated to tears with the girls I was staying with. But I wouldn’t trade a single moment for anything. Because those weeks, and with that group, I felt totally and completely accepted and loved for who I was. And I needed that feeling more than anything. It’s how every human being should treat one another, only we don’t.

If not for summer camp, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

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2 Responses to “Sweet Summer Camp”


  1. 1 catzikay June 27, 2010 at 3:02 am

    I love summer camp too! For those short weeks, you’re away from your family and friends. Everything is suddenly new, and it’s like living a whole new life without being someone else. When I think about it, it’s probably the feeling of a blank slate that made things memorable. =)


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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