What? The best year of my life? I know, crazy. But let me explain. I was a camper at a summer camp for 12 summers. Each summer I would go for a month at a time. So, I spent 12 months as a camper at summer camp growing up as a child. . .which means that summer camp was the best year of my life! Yes, I lived at a summer camp. Yes, I breathed summer camp. Yes, my entire life from the night I was born (my dad actually missed my birth because he was on a summer camp sponsored ski trip) until this very moment has been totally consumed with summer camp. But I'm not talking about those months and years when I wasn't a camper, I want to talk about those 12 months (one month each summer from the time I was five) when I was actually a camper. . .the best 12 months of my life.
Why am I talking about summer camp? Well, today Andy is doing this continual blog thing and he has asked different friends of his to write about his or her experience at summer camp. Yes, we are trying desperately to fill our camp. . .that is one of our motives. But I think another motive is just to share with people why on earth summer camp is so great and so important. . .like I said. . .the best 12 months of my life!
I think my favorite thing about being a camper was getting away from everything for one month each summer. For that one month I was who I really am. Seriously. I think at camp I got to put aside pleasing my parents and put aside trying to be "cool" (or whatever) for the school people and I got to put aside all schedules and stuff and I got to be me. I loved getting to camp and picking my bunk and knowing from the minute my bed got made and my trunk got pushed under the bunk that I was "home" for a month. I was with nine girls my age and two counselors and I was home.
I had several dear friends that attended camp with me almost every year! Kendall and Whitney and Beth and Amy and Aimee and Shawn and so many others. Of course, my best camp friend of all time was Libby. Camp friends are the best friends! They truly are! Getting to live with girls and laugh with girls and learn with girls and play with girls for an entire month. Nothing in the world compares to that as a child! I would say that FRIENDS were the very best part of summer camp for me! Rest period when you just had to be still and sit on your bunk was amazing when you were sitting with friends! To this day I still keep in touch with many of those friends listed above and many more (sorry if you weren't mentioned).
What were some of my favorite summer memories? Probably ones that, as a mother, would make me wonder, but as a child they hold a great place in my mind and in my heart! One summer when I was six or so, our counselor painted the entire cabin blue and dressed us in white clothes because it was Smurf day and we were all Smurfs. Yes, she painted us entirely blue! One summer Libby and Kendall and I were on a camp out and they decided to teach me how to shave my legs. . .on a camp out. . .with lake water. . .no shaving cream. . .shaving for the first time. (I do NOT recommend it!) When I was 12, I had this camp crush (oh, don't even get me started on my super fun camp crushes) and I took his picture with me in a ziploc bag on our canoe trip. The next summer our entire cabin got lice (twice) and that was actually one of my best times at camp. It sounds gross and horrible, but we all got it together and we had the best time in quarantine! The following summer (when I was 14), Libby and I wrote this entire song and then proceeded to write our song all over the ceiling of our cabin. . .in bright orange paint pen. I seriously could tell camp stories forever and they would mean nothing to you, but they are bright spots in my childhood!
There really is no way to describe what camp is like to anyone who hasn't gone. All I know is that because of the enormous place summer camp holds in my childhood memories, I will do whatever it takes to get my kids there! It is important. . .I would even say necessary for a child to go to camp! (That isn't even my marketing plug for Kivu yet.) Every child NEEDS summer camp!
And now on to my Kivu marketing plug. Kivu is an amazing camp! Andy is an incredible teacher. Your teen will come to Kivu and leave a better person! I promise! We take kids ages 11-18 and they can stay one, two or three weeks! You can even come with your child for a four day trip if you want to! They will grow as a person and they will grow spiritually. They will come and be loved for who they are and they will leave more confident in that person. Send your child to summer camp and I would love it if you chose Kivu!
This is my thirty-seventh summer to spend at summer camp and I still love it!
You can check out more summer camp stories at Andy's blog: The Journey www.andybraner.com or just click on "The Journey" above!