When we were growing up, my family was a camp/cottage type family (emphasis on the cottage part), and never really did the sleepaway camp thing. There were a few summers here and there my brothers went to hockey camp or Bible camp, but I never went. I was (am?) a medically dramatic child with a special diet and an affinity for heat stroke. Sleepaway camp just wasn’t feasible.
I was invited by FBBF* to help him and his good friends run a sleepaway camp** for teenagers at the end of the summer. I agreed to spend a week (and my 28th Birthday!) with 100+ teenagers. Yes. I am a little insane, thank you.
To say it was a learning experience would be an understatement. Here comes a list, friends!
Lessons to Learn at Sleepaway Camp
1. Pack according to the future weather forecast, not according to the sweltering heat of your unairconditioned apartment. You will find that the weather will suddenly decide that it is autumn, and you didn’t pack nearly enough clothes to keep you warm. You will have to resort to wearing multiple t-shirts, a sweatshirt and your ugly raincoat (even though it’s not raining) all at the same time, inside the buildings and out.
2. Smile at teenagers even if you’re afraid of them at first. They’re not nearly as intimidating as you think they are. They might even turn out to be potential friends.
3. Don’t make the kitchen staff angry. The quality of your food can make or break your week. This is especially important for those of us with dietary restrictions. As you approach the kitchen door, avert your eyes, slouch down a little, hold up your plate and announce your specific food restriction in a clear, but not demanding voice. Think “Please sir, can I have some more?” The humbler and more pathetic, the better. After you’ve eaten your meal, thank the kitchen staff profusely. Shower them with praise and adoration. Repeat at the next meal.
4. Don’t think about hygiene as much as you would at home. I mean, it’s still nice to shower (for the sake of those around you) and brush your teeth before bed, but if your hair doesn’t get washed for a few days in a row – it’s probably ok. You’re going to smell better than most of the dudes.
5. If you do take a shower, clean your hair out of the drain afterwards. Because ew.
6. Do stupid stuff. Not like, dangerous stupid, but memory making stupid. You won’t have as much fun watching from the sidelines as you will getting in to the thick of it. Plus, you can’t tell your grandkids the story of the time you did such and such if you were just watching.
7. If it’s the day before your birthday, and every second teenager keeps asking you to name your favourite type of candy, act really surprised the next day when they all give you candy for your birthday. Also, if you are smart about it, you’ll name a different kind of candy every time. Variety is good.
8. Don’t get excited about going to bed. Your mattress will disappoint you every time.
9. If given a few hours here or there and an internetless computer, it’s possible to develop a pretty kick-butt camp-wide circus-themed murder mystery game. Complete with alternate identities and fantastic costumes.
A photo posted by amanda (@amandambast) on
10. Camp isn’t overrated, like you originally thought it was. It’s the best.
*Farm Boy Boyfriend
**They keep telling me that no one over the age of 10 calls it sleepaway camp. Whatever. I like it.
What’s your best sleepaway camp memory?