Summer Camp

Four days left until Italy!

Trevi Fountain, Rome Photo Source

Last night the Hubby and I sat down at the kitchen table and made The Lists: Things to pack, things to do before we leave, things to do as soon as we touch down in Rome Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport, things to purchase before leaving, things to purchase in Italy.

~~~~~

This morning I listened to an interesting This American Life called “Notes on Camp“.  It was split into six parts; we heard about life in a boys summer camp, the traditional scary stories and their role in camp life,  call-in recorded listener stories about their times in camp, an summer camp run by the Israeli Army, and life in a girls summer camp.  Go listen (click the embedded hyperlink above).  If you attended summer camp I bet you’ll connect with some of the stories, and if you didn’t go to summer camp you might learn a thing or two about why we campers blathered incessantly about summer camp when we came back to school every fall.

When we were younger, my parents took my sister and I to a co-ed summer camp for a few years at  Camp Wakeshma (oh my, there’s a website with pictures – memories!) in Three Rivers, Michigan.  I remember the long drive from Tinley Park every summer, and the excitment that I’d being living on my own.  Well, really my sister was in the next cabin and my cabin was shared by ~15 other girls and a counselor, but without my Mom and Dad, my bed, my stuff, I felt like I was all on my own.  It was scary and exhilerating!  The following pictures are all from Camp Wakeshma’s website.

My favorite memories:

Corey Lake!  There was 10-foot platform over the lake that the brave kids could jump off.  We had the opportunity to take the swimming test every summer – a swim across the entire lake while a couple of counselers boated alongside us -that would enable us to take out sailboats on our own.  There were also rowboats and kayaks to be had! 

Archery, making copper pressings and lanyards, scrimping and counting out change to buy things from the camp store (which was really just a junk food shop).  Going to the camp dance at the end of the week.  Sharing meals with a whole bunch of kids and singing songs and chants with our cabins. 

Gossip with cabin mates, talking about boys, especially the cute counselors! 

“Roughing it” – trekking to the bathrooms and showers, brushing our teeth outside the cabin using bottled water and spitting into the woods so we didn’t have to trek to the bathrooms, shaving our legs in the lake (probably not so healthy for the fish).

Getting mail and care packages from home!  Kids who received five letters or one care package in a day “had to” jump from the high dive after lunch in their clothes! (unless they didn’t want to).  In the weeks leading up to camp we would beg our parents and friends to send us letters while we were away. 

Hiking in the woods and sitting in the outdoor amphitheater (Fecteau Glen), the half-log benches set up in rows in front of the wooden stage. 

Camp was awesome, but I also remember it being very stressful: In one week you had to make friends quickly and not make enemies, find a date for the dance, and take a bunch of classes and learn the rules – all away from Mom and Dad! 

Did any of you go to camp and do you have any favorite memories?  Seestor, what do you remember from Camp Wakeshma?

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Summer Camp
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535 thoughts on “Summer Camp

  1. 1

    I remember Camp from a different perspective. Getting you ready. That time when we dropped you off on our way back from Virginia – the vacation where Erin learned a valuable life lesson – sometimes warning signs are meant to save the skin on our faces.

    The excitement of having a week alone with your Dad was of course tempered by the fear that my babies were alone, away from me doing weird things like jumping off a a ten-foot platform into a leech-infested lake (your description dearest daughter).

    Having to take the time change into consideration when planning the drive out to drop you off/pick you up. The always-hideous pattern out of/back into Illinois during the worst of summer vacation traffic along with the mysterious back up of traffic when hit just after we pasted the good alternate exit ramp.

    But the best was picking you two up Sunday morning and going somewhere in Indiana and/or Michigan before going home, listening to your stories and rants and how you couldn’t wait to go back (or, how you were getting too old for camp).

    Love you baby. Can’t wait to see you in ITALY!!!!!!

  2. 2

    I cannot believe they’re still open, let alone have a website! The panoramic group shots from Camp have made it through every single purge session for the last 15 years! I miss it so much. I think Camp Wakeshma is why I love hiking and going camping, regardless of the conditions; it reminds me of being a kid and going on the midnight hike to listen to ghost stories and the bejeesus scared out of us on the way back….

  3. 3

    I just came back from Camp Wakeshma yesterday coed 5. Your description is still 100% accurate. The stresses of the week, going to fectaeu glen in the morning, the dance, and all the activities. I find it amazing that after many years camp traditions are still the same.

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