Chill in the air

June 5th, 2008 • Kate

When I was a kid, for four wonderful summers I went to sleepaway camp in Westchester County — only two weeks at a time, but that’s all I remember of those four summers. Canoeing, hiking, horrible “bug juice” in the mess tent, bonfires, cabins, and the girls I became friends with. And, well, there’s a certain kind of chill in the air this morning that makes me think of summer camp — all you have are shorts and t-shirts, which you pile on under the only sweatshirt you packed, then huddle with your bunkmates and watch the rain outside, sharing treats sent from home in brown-paper-wrapped care packages, passing around the few books you brought with you.
All this to say — yes, it’s another reading day here at kt literary. Yesterday was pretty successful (I got through two full manuscripts), so I hope for more of the same today. While I’m reading, tell me — did any of you go to camp? Did you love it? Hate it? Still feel like it’s an authentic childhood experience to share in your novels, or is it as dated as sock hops and roller skating?

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5 Responses to “Chill in the air”

  1. jeanoram Says:

    My grandmothers used to team up to send me to camp in the summer. Same camp every year and the same camp my dad went to. I loved it! We were on an island doing all sorts of fun, active things every day. The rain never stopped us! I know what you mean about those crisp days, I finally (after years) learned to bring gloves along with me, making me the envy of all the girls in my cabin.
    I feel as though it was an authentic childhood experience, but it hasn't come up in any of my maunscripts thus far. Then again, I have been focussing on Chick Lit and not YA.

  2. Julia Says:

    I never got to go to camp. Summers were spent at the swimming pool – every day.
    None of my close friends went to camp, but I did want to go. It never happened.
    There needs to be a camp for adults! =^)

  3. Carrie Says:

    I went to camp three summers in a row. Met my first boyfriend there. Memorized obscenely peppy songs that I'm passing on to my kids. Learned to hate polar bear swims with the fire of a thousand suns.
    One of my campmates now runs that very same camp, and it's going strong. So at least here in the "Ohio wilderness," summer camp isn't dated at all. Although he mentioned to me that the older kids programs aren't filling up the way they used to. I'm not sure if that's true of other camps or not.

  4. jeanoram Says:

    What? You didn't like Polar Bear swims? My cousin and I still partake in them at my grandma's cottage. And okay, nobody is banging on the cottage walls with a stick at some ungodly hour and we've usually had a margarita or two first.
    Okay, you got me, there really isn't anything polar bear about our swims anymore.

  5. Caryn Says:

    How funny. Just this morning I was telling my husband that when we have kids we should send them to summer camp, because I have so many good memories from it. Even the bad ones were worth experiencing, really, because I learned a lot about myself and others.
    Oh, and I love the feelings and memories you evoked in this post. 🙂