I have many wonderful memories from my childhood, none of which include my experiences at summer camp. Well, not REAL camp, at any rate. Nerd camp (that would be orchestra and drama camps) were full of pure awesome for me, while real camp — we’re talking roughing-it-in-the-woods-with-latrines-and-sneaky-ass-squirrels kind of camp — have given me nothing but peed pants, nightmares and the worst stomach virus IN THE UNIVERSE. Oh yes, in third grade, I went camping with the Girl Scouts and, while unsuccessfully trying to hover above the dirty, smelly outhouse toilet — a toilet in which I’m convinced alligators and raccoons had taken up residence and were just waiting for me to sit my lily-white butt on there so they could announce, “DINNER!” — I managed to pee all over my pants instead. At which point the alligators and raccoons announced, “Forget dinner — come check out this mess, guys!” before dissolving into a fit of laughter.
Ten years later, I bravely overcame my outhouse tragedy to accept a job as a camp counselor in the middle of a Pennsylvania town I believe was called Bumblef*ck Nowhere. A glamorous position, it was, with my very own wood hut and a spectacular mattress last used by George Washington. Fast forward two weeks later, and I am begging my parents to pick me up in their getaway car and not look back, especially because I was in the backseat with my head out the window, heaving up the delicious contents of my meals from the last few days. Con: I had contracted the worst stomach virus known to man. Pro: I also lost some of that Freshman 50 I had gained! Woo… hoo?
In other words, don’t mention the word “camp” to me unless it also involves really cool outdoorsy stuff. Like arpeggio exercises or a chamber music retreat.
And these kids hold similar views of camp, as evidenced by their letters — some of which can be found in P.S. I Still Hate It Here! More Kids’ Letters From Camp, while others I tracked down here.[portfolio_slideshow]