Thursday, June 26, 2014

Forced to Play an Instrument

Last week I shipped my two daughters off to two separate summer camps. My 13-year-old went to a science/math camp --'Camp Awe+Sum' (get it?) at Westminster University and my 11-year-old went to Shadow Mountain -- a camp run by the school district and located somewhere high up in the mountains.

Camp Awe+Sum had private bedrooms and an indoor pool. 

Shadow Mountain had bunkbeds in cabins and a freezing glacial lake at the top of a three-mile hike. 

Camp Awe+Sum had a cafeteria.

Shadow Mountain had campfire food and a kitchen that was, I shit you not, invaded by a bear.

Camp Awe+Sum was "just okay" according to my daughter. I guess that she spent the four days mostly all by herself. She ate by herself at every meal in the campus cafeteria. A parent's worst nightmare. I felt slightly mollified when I found out that she sat alone at a booth with a book propped in one hand while she picked at her food.

Shadow Mountain was crowded with girls who already knew each other. Whereas I am absolutely positive that sweet and awesome girls were left out (dammit!), my daughter was not. She felt included and enjoyed the company of her friends and cabin-mates.

When I picked up my 13-year-old from Camp Awe+Sum I found her sitting alone under a tree, ready to go home.

When I picked up my 11-year-old from Shadow Mountain she was sunburned, reeked of campfire, and was grinning like a looney. 

The stories I got from Camp Awe+Sum were mostly about how my daughter hated the food and the craft activities. 

The stories I got from Shadow Mountain were beyond hilarious. My daughter had about five excellent campfire stories that she believed with all her heart to be true. My favorite one was from a camp counselor who told the kids that he lived for four months on an island inhabited by cannibals who put him in a cage and forced him to play an instrument. "What instrument?" we asked my daughter. She looked at us and gravely answered, "a ukulele."


  1. See, I'm all about the indoor plumbing and real kitchen that does not include bears. But I'll admit that I had some fun at my sleep away camps. Some fun and some now they're funny but then kind of awful type stories. But I'm also not good at math/science. Hmmm, 'tis a quandary.

    1. I love to read a blog post about your childhood camps.

  2. Your poor math camp girl!

    I was forced to sit in a cage and play ukulele. I feel that guy's pain.

    I think the horror of such sparse surroundings forces them to bond.