|Closing campfire at my daughter's overnight summer camp in Vermont.|
I was seven years old when my parents threw me into my first overnight summer camp. It was for a month, and possibly bordered on someone waking-up and calling the authorities for child abandonment. My older sister was also at the camp, although as a 12 year old, she outright denied any genetic connection to me like a developmentally appropriate pre-teen would.
People gasp when they hear how young I was, and as a mom of three now, I shake my head and wonder: what were my parents thinking??
However, as I prepare my youngest for her one week away at camp, I find myself regaling her with tens and hundreds of fascinating details, stories, failures and triumphs from that one Vermont summer at Teela-Wooket. (That’s camp speak for: young girls who ride horses, shoot rifles and sing Mary Poppins songs whilst swaying.)
In fact, in an eye opening revelation, I realize that I remember that one summer at camp more vividly than any other summers up until I was thirteen years old and headed abroad for the first time. Why?
1 - Independence
2 - Survival
3 - Newness
4 - Shooting Range
5 - Archery
6 - Cold Morning Bathrooms
7 - Waking up every morning to trumpet reveille
8 - Raising the Flag
9 - My first fall from a horse
10 - Literally, getting back up on the horse
11 - Camp Uniforms
12 - Bug Juice
13 - Stacks and stacks of tiny cereal boxes
14 - Homesickness
15 - Award for shooting range
16 - Award for archery
17 - Red Rover Red Rover
18 - Freezing in bunks
19 - Rest time
20 - Seeing Mom and Dad for the first time…
21 - Winning: Youngest Camper Award
These days, overnight summer camp is a no-screen, no brainer. No matter what, your kiddo will learn something about themselves and their bigger place in the world, even if it’s just simply: Why do they call it Bug Juice, Mom?
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