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August 06, 2009

Camp is Short and Life is Long

Camp-is-short This little pearl of wisdom spilled out of my husband while he was on the phone. He was explaining to his cousin how we feel about our kids being counselors at sleep away camp. Our children, at 17 and 20, are working at the summer camp that they have attended for 8 and 11 years, respectively. The same camp that my husband and I attended, as well as our siblings, cousins and even my mother! 

In these times of rising unemployment and stiff job competition it is hard to let go of the idea that internships and job experience are the only route to travel. Unless of course you understand the need your children have to fill by going back to camp because you too have known it first hand.

Read the title of this this post and really think about it for a moment. If you ever went to summer camp you are smiling and nodding your head. If you have not, let me try to articulate the importance of this statement.

Camp is the essence of the freedom of summer. It is the place where you leave the social and scholastic pressures of the ten previous months at the threshold and you don't look back for eight weeks. 

You can breathe and just BE YOU. The sweet core you without the hinderance of all that life piles on you. Yes, even as a kid. Or, in these times, especially as a kid. Sure there are social issues and competition, but somehow the aura that surrounds you at camp is one of tolerance. Kids of all kinds mesh into the fabric of the place.

When you walk into an alumni weekend at a sleep away camp like we just did, you see droves of young (and not so young) adults converging on the promised land of their childhoods. Some have just begun their journey down the path of adulthood. Some come back with their spouses in tow, trying to show them exactly why this place is so much a part of who they are today. Others bring their children to see the place in hopes that they will want to attend next year. And still others, like ourselves, watch our kids become the leaders.

How's this for full circle? I watched my daughter tour a prospective camper around camp, giving her the full flavor of why she would want to be a camper there. This 7-year-old? She was the child of a woman who was my camper when she was ten. And the kid looked just like the mom did when I was her counselor.

History. Love. Belonging. A sense of place.

Camp is short. And life is surely long.

Original 50-something Mom Blog post. Amy also blogs at i could cry but i don't have time and leaving the zip code.