BY LAUREN SEPHTON
For generations, summer camp has been creating lifelong friends and fond memories to look back on for the years to come. For most campers, the memories begin as they’re being dropped off at camp. They’re so excited about the adventures ahead, yet so nervous at the same time. Whether summer camp entailed fun-filled dares, awkward moments, or magical daydreams, they are memories that’ll stay with us for life.
Sophia (camp year: 2006)
I remember getting stuck and just floating around in the middle of the pond because I couldn’t figure out those complicated paddle boats. Those silly songs we sang in our cabin lines outside the cafeteria as we waited to eat are still stuck in my head, too. One fun song, in particular, was, “I like to eat ipe, ipe, ipe, ipples, and baninis.” Good times! However, my favorite memory was comforting my cousin, Oliver, with candy from the snack shack when he was homesick. I remember that day so well—Oliver was sitting on a picnic table looking miserable. I knew he loved being with his mama, so I gave him candy, but he didn’t eat it, so I naturally started eating it while trying to console him.
Oliver (camp year: 2006)
Summer camp was filled with great memories, especially the times I got to go with my cousins. One good memory was receiving my cousin Sophia’s candy when I felt homesick. One not-so-fond memory was my mother refusing to pick me up, despite having strep throat, because she thought I was just homesick—thanks a lot, Mom! However, she did end up picking me up early, and we laugh about it all the time now.
Jules (camp year: early 1980s)
I was a camp counselor in the early ’80s with my sister and two friends. We had so much fun competing against each other with our elementary-aged campers, but we were also trying to exhibit good leadership. However, we decided to make it extra fun one night, so we gathered some dirty laundry left on the floors of some cabins while everyone was having lunch. I mostly remember the four of us gathering our group of campers from our cabins and sneaking out for our spectacular adventure. I believe we threw the dirty laundry on the flagpole and rang the bell before dashing off in the darkness back to our beds in the cabins before anyone woke up from the ringing bell. We thought we were safe, as other campers jumped out of their beds to see what was going on. There was an outcry of blame and wonder asking “who did it?” but we all acted surprised. The next morning we marched the long, narrow path to the office when the intercom called our names and we faced a multitude of tiny pointing fingers with voices saying, “ooh, you got in trouble.” Thankfully, they knew we meant no harm, but we learned the rest of the time we had to exemplify a leadership role, and no late-night counselor pranks!
Nancy (camp year: 2011)
I had never been one to be afraid of heights until it came my time to climb the rock wall at summer camp. I remember them harnessing the ropes, as my heartbeat was racing, and I became flushed with fear of taking my next step. One of my camp counselors must’ve noticed, as she came rushing over to me with concern in her eyes. Without me saying anything, she began comforting me with words of encouragement. Thanks to her kind words, I became once again motivated to make my way up the rock-climbing wall and was able to ring the bell at the very top!
Summer camp naturally cultivates fond memories that’ll last a lifetime! Whether you decide to become a camp counselor or send your child as a camper, what are you waiting for?
*Names have been changed for privacy.