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Do Tell: What Did Summer Camp Mean to You?

Depending on who you ask, Summer camp is either a wonderful, life-changing part of childhood or a horrifying, embarrassing experience to be avoided entirely. For many kids, attending sleep-away camp was a first taste of independence. You're tossed into an unfamiliar place and forced to make new friends while sampling all sorts of exotic activities — from horseback riding and campfires to dancing with boys and having your underwear run up a flagpole. If you grew up in the city, it may have been your first up close and personal encounter with the outdoors; if you were raised in a rural area, maybe it was the first time you met a kid from the big city.

Did you go to Summer camp as a kid? If so, do you have fond memories, or was it a horrible experience you never want to endure again? Did it help shape the person you are today? And if you didn't go away to camp, how did you feel about kids who did?


Join The Conversation
dikke-kus dikke-kus 8 years
Summer camps were great. Even if things were stupid and boring sometimes it was always worth it. I went to large summer girls scout camps with canoeing and the whole camping experience. I hope I can do that also for my son someday. Sometimes you want to fit in with other girls and flirt a bit with the boys. It's kind of a first independent taste of life away from mom and dad.
gigill gigill 9 years
I loved summer camp! I went to day camps, girl guide camps and musical theatre camps! I even worked as a junior counsellor @ girl guide camp. I'm a camper at heart and it makes me feel good to know that I have all sorts of basic survival skills, like how to start a fire!
julieapfel julieapfel 9 years
I went to Camp Log-N-Twig for 4 summers (91-94, I think, it might have been 92-95) any other twiggers?? I still can't decide if I loved it or hated it, but I am glad I went.
Kate14909563 Kate14909563 9 years
I went every summer for years! Then I worked there are a few summers in high school and college. I love summer camp!
bbkf bbkf 9 years
I went to day camp every summer in elementary school and sleep-away camp the summers of 7th and 8th grade. It was a wonderful experience and I loved every minute of it.
Rebecca14916991 Rebecca14916991 9 years
I wasn't very happy with it. Sure, the area was beautiful - It had its own waterfall, which was amazing - but the girls I went with treated me like the scum of the earth. they pulled pranks on me every time I turned around, and would pretend to include me in games of hide and seek and then never come to find me. The ultimate irony is that this was a girl scout camp, where everyone is supposed to be friendly and fair to each other. *rolls eyes* Sure, that's going to happen when your own leader treats you like crap because she spoils her daughter to death, who just happens to be in the same troop as you and has arbitrarily decided that you are to be ignored and made fun of simply for being the youngest in it. It sucked. I spent as much time as possible in my cabin or with other troops at the project stations - I would rather be left behind making lanyards and camp pillows than left behind in the middle of the woods. It wasn't all bad though; it got me used to amusing and taking care of myself and taught me not to expect others would take care of me like my mom did. *shrugs*
356UIK 356UIK 9 years
We luckily never had to go. Summers were for bonding with our family on vacations and our friends in the neighborhood that we maybe didnt see as much during the school year. None of the kids in our neighborhood went to camp, or boarding school for that matter. I grew up outside DC so there was SO MUCH to do in the Summer around town that it was impossible to do it all before school started again. Mom didnt work so she took us on little day trips every day. It was the best :)
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 9 years
I hated camp. HATED it. And my mother forced me to go to overnight camp every summer until I was old enough to get a job. The activities had potential to be fun but the whole "camp vibe" - bitchy, cliquey girls, forced organized activities, cheesy songs, horrid food, etc, was too much for me to bear.
NurseDeAnna NurseDeAnna 9 years
I wish I had. I did go as a nurse the past couple years to a fab summer camp on the east coast. I take vacation days for it I love it so much!!
Red315 Red315 9 years
I went every year for seven years... The first time I went I was 11 and was scared out of my mind but to this day still have friends from my "kickapoo" cabin! As soon as the week was over I remember asking when I could go back! It wasn't just because of the fun things you could do at camp but it was a christian camp and for that one week you could be anything but yourself and for me it was an amazing escape. I loved everything- the crap food, the insane hills, the gross cabins, the terrible song times, the snakes in the water! Ooo I wanna go back! My last two years I was a junior counselor and had the best time of my life! I was asked last year and this summer to go back and be a real counselor and severely regret not doing it!
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 9 years
I grew up in an urban area. so there wasn't much for summer camps. But I did go to indoor theatre camp one year and it rocked my socks! haha
insanitypepper insanitypepper 9 years
Fashion Fashion 9 years
I loved camp; kinda wish there was camp for adults. I went to a horse back riding camp and a scuba diving camp. At both I experienced my first real female bonding, three-day boyfriends and talent shows! xo
heidi-girl heidi-girl 9 years
i hated it. i get homesick easily :(
CoMMember13630786602261 CoMMember13630786602261 9 years
I went to camp every summer for 5 or 6 years. I loved it. Some of my fondest memories are from summer camp. I really miss it, I didnt have a very normal child hood and camp gave me a chance to really just be a normal kid. There are still certain smells that immediatly remind me of summer camp. Sometimes I wish I could go back... Ok, Im done being all setimental.
MisterPinkNoTip MisterPinkNoTip 9 years
I went to camp for six years and was a junior counselor. It was sooooo much fun! I miss it a lot, especially on the fourth of July. I really found I could be myself at camp, plus I got to do a bunch of great activities and meet a plethora of new people.
bransugar79 bransugar79 9 years
Camp was awesome for me. The first time I went my mom was so worried because I didn't go with a group and I was the introverted shy girl. She thought I would write home crying but it was a blast. I think it was the first time I got to see myself as someone different outside of my family and the small private school of torture I went to. I wasn't the nerdy girl anymore the poor one who didn't quite fit in with all the potential and the grades that made everyone look bad. I found out thatI was funny and smart and that people would like me just for being me. I also got make my own moccasins I mean what could be better than that?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
*footnote* I also learned how to wrap a bell with sanitary napkins so they couldnt ring it. How to put someones bed and belongings on a floating dock with just a canoe to transport it How to keep my hair from turning green during the summers from the pool How to sneak over to the boys side with no flashlights and not fall in the water over the creek. How to remember hundreds of kids names in 3 months time How to repel chiggars, mosquitoes and Mildew
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Camp made me the person I am today, All my lifelong friends came out of that experiance. My sisters ( I have three older ones) all went before me, and when it was finally my turn (at age 8, 1981) I gladly went, no tears what so ever. YMCA Camp Indian Springs in Crawfordiville Florida ( outside of Tallahassee. I went every single summer until I was 15 and became a junior counselor and than senior counselor. It was my first job, and the whole experience from camper to counselor taught me work ethic, values, friendship, responsibility. I learned how to have fun in any situation, how to go outside my comfort zone, and How to be independent. I am still involved with that camp at 34 years old , because its legacy and tradition means something to me! There is NOTHING like hearing from a counselor there now that they remember me and are working there now and that i had something to do with that! The last time I went, to drop off my 10 year old niece for her FIRST TIME AT CAMP, I think i sent the poor girl with a million campy things in her luggage!! but she loved it, and the first thing she said to me when we picked her up was "can i go back next year?"
ejv1975 ejv1975 9 years
I LOVED going to camp! I went to the same camp for about four years during the same session every year for three weeks. There were a group of us that all did it so you knew some of the same people every year. Plus, at 12-15 years old, it was great to get away from home and feel like I was on my own for a while.
winniecooper winniecooper 9 years
What does summer camp mean to me? Tatum O'Neal, Kristy McNichol, and Matt Dillon, of course! Ah, LITTLE DARLINGS, greatest camp movie EVER!!!! "He compared us to Romeo and Juliet. We had some chilled champagne...It was perfect. The darkness enveloped us..." -Ferris
jessie jessie 9 years
it was horrible! they made fun of me, stole my shoes, i wished them all a slow painful death at that time. if my kids WANT and ASK to go, i'll send them. but i won't force them. and mind you it was a christian camp i went too.
zabrow zabrow 9 years
i went to a summer swim camp a few times when i was younger. it was a camp for competitive swim, where most of what we did all day revolved around swim workouts & training & blahblahblah. it was really fun, but the few times i went, i went with other girls from my swim team, so i didn't end up making new friends & there weren't normal camp activities like riding horses or going on nature walks or anything. it was really fun, though & i loved it at the time.
bikinib7 bikinib7 9 years
I just worked as a counselor at a camp for at-risk children. Some of my kids were in foster care, had parents in jail, parents were divorced/divorcing. It was the most rewarding experience I've ever had. Prior to going, I was annoyed with the fact that I had to give up a week and deal with adolescent drama for a week straight. I can't even explain how rewarding it was. Without a doubt, I will be working again next summer.
dkaufmann125 dkaufmann125 9 years
I never went to camp! I was a terrified intoverted kid - besides no one could afford to send me even if I wanted to go.
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