Were you lucky enough to go to summer camp as a kid? Some of my fondest memories come from two quintessential summer camps I attended in New Hampshire. I’m talking about real sleep-over camps…with little to no parental contact for 4 weeks. It probably sounds cliché now, but we had arts and crafts (“God’s Eyes” anyone?), archery (essential life skill I use to this day), horseback riding (got stepped on and haven’t ridden since), swimming, bonfires, canoeing, s’mores, gossiping in our girls cabin until all hours, taps at 6am, and every other camp classic you can think of. Yes…egging the boys camp during the night, telling goofy horror stories to each other with a flashlight shining under our chins, “shortsheeting” someone’s bunk…the list goes on.
Do kids get to do this kind of thing anymore? Or maybe I should ask, do kids want to do this kind of thing anymore? Just for kicks I looked up one of my camp’s websites. To my amazement, I read that they do not allow any personal electronics of any type…no cell phones, no iPods, no computers (I feel the list of campers dwindling). Also not allowed at camp…hatchets (listed specifically), pocket knives, guns, duct tape (?), and hair dryers over 1000 watts. I wonder what the list contained in 1975? Were hatchets on it? If they were, my parents never let on.
In an age where parents and kids unfortunately need to be in touch 24/7, I hope that these kinds of camps can hold on a while longer, if only to instill the joy of just “being” and trusting that the 4 weeks away from worry and stress will be safe and in the kids’ lives forever.