An Ode to Summer Camp

When you’ve been, you know. Explaining the magic of summer camp to someone who has never been is a difficult task, but alas, I shall try anyway. Spotting that yellow sign coming up over the gravel road in Okoboji, Iowa still sends shivers down my spine. From the first year I attended Camp Foster, I was hopelessly in love with the place.

For the first summer in nine years, I will be without camp. It’s going to be strange not going away for a week that first week of August, coming back to reality in a camp state of mind. Does the transition into “adulthood” start at the end of summer camp? I would like to think not.

But what’s the attraction? Who knows. It’s not the waking up every morning in a cabin of eight girls, who will be your best friends by the end of the week. Struggling every year to pass the swimming test to be able to swim in the deep end. Not sitting in morning chapel on the strangely familiar soggy, wooden benches. Or singing any American song as the flag was being raised. And definitely not breakfast pizza being the greatest thing to happen since you got a warm and fuzzy from that cute boy in Tent City. Or looking forward to meal times not just for crispitos, but for the full on war between two cabins on who gives the other back rubs. Meeting one of your best friends from a melted marshmallow fight. Your heart skipping a beat when your name is called to receive a package from home. Not that your greatest accomplishment of the week was being inducted into the fatty AND cat club. Or going on a campout with 27 amazing people, looking up and being able to see the milky way. Or crying around the campfire as it’s your last night being able to attend camp, surrounded by some of the most genuine people you know. Hmm nope, definitely not that at all.

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