Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sleepaway Summer Camp

When I was younger my mom tried to give me opportunities to try out various things. We didn't have a lot of money so a lot of these things were free, such as Girl Scouts. One thing my mom asked me if I'd be interested in was attending church with her friend, who went every Sunday.  Now, my mom didn't go with us - but every Sunday I looked forward to having my mom's friend (whose name for whatever ridiculous reason escapes me at this moment) pick me up and take me off to the Methodist Church that was about a mile away from where we lived.

Church was fun for me. I enjoyed the children's prayer at the beginning, I liked the singing (I even joined the choir) and I liked going to Sunday School. I LOVED Vacation Bible School. It always fell on the week of my birthday and it was always so much fun for me.

Anyway... before the first summer I was approached by my mother's friend about Skye Farm Camp.  She explained to me that it's this summer camp, where kids go away for a week at a time, that is centered around church, but each week is special and based on various hobbies and interests (music, art, sports etc).  She gave me the book and told me to look through it and pick which one I wanted to go to.


I was SO excited.  It's funny because, I was 10 years old and the thought of money didn't even pop into my mind like it does today.  I wasn't looking at the cost of the camp or even curious to know what the cost was.  To this date, I have no clue how much it cost for me to have this experience or who foot the bill.  I'm just so appreciative that they did.

I choose to go to the music camp program (I had just completed my first year of playing the violin for school) and it was going to happen the week of the Fourth of July.

I had never been to sleepaway camp for longer than three days before!  I was a Girl Scout prior to moving to this new town (I had just completed grade 4 in a new school) but our retreats never lasted a whole week!  I was excited, and nervous.  Oh and...I was a thumb sucker.  That's right, at 10 years old, I was still sucking my thumb with no shame.

I was so excited to be going - the ride seemed like it took forever be in reality it's in Warrensburg and only about a half an hour away.

I had so many great experiences during that week away at camp...

I remember meeting my mom's friend's teenage daughter, Trisha.  She was my idol of the week, I decided that one day *I* wanted to be a camp counselor, because of her.  I had two great counselors, Mike was the boys counselor and I don't remember the girl's counselor name (go figure).  Us ten year old's had an exceptionally small group, most age groups had at least 10 kids in them, we had 5 all together.  We were a close knit group and had a lot of fun together.

I remember playing this super fun game with a volleyball and volleyball net....but it wasn't volleyball.  I couldn't tell you how to play now - but boy, every afternoon I looked forward to going to that sandy spot and playing.

I remember having to take the "swim test" to be able to go out of the shallow end.  I was scared - I'm a terrible swimmer and didn't have interest in going beyond the shallow end.  I got my shallow end bracelet and was happy as a clam.

I remember this one boy - who like everyone else, has a name that escapes me - who was always by my side.  I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back this boy seriously had a thing for me.  He always asked where I was going, or what I did during the day and always sat next to me.  He was a nice boy, but I remember being annoyed by him.

I remember hiking to the "castle ruins" and hearing the story about how the castle had caught on fire and the only way the woman (who was wheelchair bound) could escape was to roll her chair out of the top window, and if you looked hard enough from where we were standing, you could totally see the remains of her chair.

I remember fireworks on the lake during the Fourth of July, and I remember my mom and both of my aunts sent me letters.

I remember our "special breakfast" where counselor Mike made us chocolate chip pancakes over the fire - it was the one meal we didn't have to hike to the mess hall for.

The only time I didn't have fun was during our lean-to night.  We had been sleeping in cushy cabins all week and the idea of being in a lean-to wasn't something I was looking forward to.  Thankfully, neither did anyone else in our group, in the middle of the night we all got up and went back to our cabins.

I don't remember much music going on in all honesty.  We did sing a lot and we did put on a little show for our parents on the last day - but there was so much more than that.  I also don't really remember much church stuff going on - they did have one evening service during the week...but that was it really.

I told everyone that I'd be back next summer.  I had dreams of future summers at sleepaway camp and becoming a counselor, but unfortunately I never got to go back and I never did get to be a camp counselor.

Oh and that thumb sucking thing?  I didn't want the kids at camp to know I sucked my thumb, so I just stopped.  Also, I went to high school with someone who sucked her thumb in class, so I was NOT the oldest person that I knew who sucked their thumb!

I think every child should get to go to summer camp at least once.  Someday I'd really like to go back and just kind of wander around Skye Farm and see what's different, and I'd especially like to take that hike back to those "ruins" or at least learn a little bit more about the history of that spot...oh and maybe relearn that volleyball game.

This post was inspired by MamaKat's Writer's Workshop.  Choose a prompt to write about and click the button below to link up.  This week's prompts are:

1.) Girls Night Out! Describe the last time you got to hang out with your friends? What stops you from doing this more often?
2.) If Social Media died tomorrow, describe another hobby you might get into.
3.) Share a Summer Camp memory.
4.) We’re too old to be getting in trouble…aren’t we? Write about a time you were scolded…as an adult.
5.) Barefoot and hormonal…describe an incident that upset you when you were pregnant, but now looking back makes you laugh.

Mama's Losin' It


Pixie said...

I grew up in a Methodist Church as well. When I was younger I absolutely loved it. The church camp I used to attend was in Florida and was amazing. Like yours, religion was a focus, but not the only major focus.

sarajo said...

I love sleep away camps! I totally understand wanting to be a counselor. The one I went to, my brother was the second in charge. It was great to be able to have meals with him and just see him around. We didn't have the best relationship, but it was still fun.
Your camp sounds like fun. Glad you were able to experience that. You're right, everyone should be able to do something like that as a kid!

Ashley said...

Sounds like a perfect week! So sorry you never got back there but you should definitely go back sometime just to see what's changed and maybe a few more memories will pop up. I never got to go to a summer camp. I don't think I had every really wanted to because I lived in the country and really enjoyed swimming and playing with my friends all summer. I should have though. It would of been a lot of fun.

Miss S. said...

So fun! I never went to camp. =( Damn parents! Ah well, I guess I still love them. I did camp a lot with them.

Jill said...

Sounds like so much fun! I was a wimp as a kid, and never went away to camp when my friends did. There was a bible camp they all went to every summer, but I just couldn't muster up the courage to go. I regret that now! (PS - I was a thumb-sucker til I was 7. Stopping was traumatizing!)

stephanie said...

so fun! I LOVED going to camp as a kid it was always the best part of summer

Connie Weiss said...

That sounds like a fun camp!

I went to church camp one time....before 4th grade and I was so homesick that my parents drove 6 hours one way to come get me.

High Peaks Pammie said...

I never had sleep away camp adventures but I had brothers and and a sister and grandparents had a camp, so those were good times. I was more nostalgic about the thumb sucking comments. My memory was when a new friend invited me to stay over when I was 13. I had pretty much kicked the habit, but sometimes when I was sleeping my thumb would find it's way back. She didn't catch me because I just didn't sleep. There were still times when I was 17 or 18 that I would have a "relapse". Anyway, I still say that maybe if I kept sucking my thumb I never would have started smoking! Still wonder if I should give up the smokes and embrace the thumb!

Brandy@YDK said...

what a great experience! i went to a church camp a few time - it was fun.