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Thread: Sleepaway Camp

  1. #1
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Sleepaway Camp

    No, no.... not that campy (pun sort of intended) awful '80s horror movie...

    I went to summer camp for a week or so from about 4th through 7th grades. It was run by the Episcopal diocese but I don't recall it being particularly religious other than an evening prayer and making those yarn Gods Eyes things. I remember that the camp was pretty free range and you could wake up in the morning and pick whatever activities you wanted to do and just roam around. I remember spending nearly all of my time swimming in the lake, canoeing, and aimlessly hiking through the woods. Camp was where I discovered that I suck at archery and that I could survive long periods of time on basically nothing but hot dogs and bug juice.

    Each year when I went I never knew another kid who was going but don't recall ever being particularly nervous or mad at my parents for sending me and I always made friends when I was there and there were a couple friends I made who I kept in contact with through the rest of the summer and into the fall each year even though we didn't go to the same schools or live particularly close.

    None of my friends from school ever went to sleepaway summer camp and I remember them all looking at me funny when I would talk about it. I knew kids who went to day camps or sports camps or maybe Scout camps but no Wet Hot American Summer-style summer camps. These days I wish I would have gone to camp for longer stretches and that I would have continued going as I got older.

    One of the highlights from camp each year was joint activities with the neighboring Jewish camp that we shared the beach with and getting to meet those kids as well. Years later I learned that a girl I dated before I met my wife was probably at my camp with me when we were kids and then she became a counselor there when she was in college and a guy I met in grad school and his wife were campers at the Jewish camp at the same time so our paths probably crossed too. The church sold of the property for the camp I went to about 5 or 6 years ago so it has closed but the Jewish camp next to it is still going strong. There used to be a bunch of camps in that northern part of Metro Detroit but only a few of them remain, most parceled off to residential developers.

    Did you go to sleepaway camp when you were younger? Do you have fond memories or are you still mad at your parents for sending you? Do you send your kids to sleepaway camp?
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I did sleepaway camp in the adironacks and soccer camp

    mostly day camp from the local rec department

    I loved it! All kinds of camp hijinks went on!

    We sent our eldest to fencing camp for 2 weeks for a couple of summers before she started working

    Our youngest goes to a lot of away camps - soccer, math/science and 4H and he loves it
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  3. #3
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Never went as a kid...but was a counselor, division head, and land/sports director at a summer camp back in the early to mid 1990's. Loved it, still my favorite summers of my life working at camp. Still keep in touch with many friends from my camp days...some still work there.

    Now, my youngest is in his 4th summer as a camper at the same camp, and my oldest is having his first summer there...and my wife is working in the back office (which means the boys are there for the full summer at a staff discount)...to say I'm jealous is an understatement.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  4. #4
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I never did camp, but growing up on a Naval Air Base we did lock ins in one of the empty hangers. Lots of roller skating, games, and usual fun. My outdoors experience comes from a few outings with the cub scouts. No canoeing, archery, or other cool camp stuff for me.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian The Terminator's avatar
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    Never did sleepaway. I did a few years of Day Camp from 1997-98, than from 2000-04.

    First DayCamp was my town's municipal summer camp, it was basically summertime babysitting. Summer of 1999, I didn't go to camp because my dad was unemployed. It was a great summer, spent allot of time with my grandparents in the Bronx who gave me more free range than mom and dad did!

    My second camp was a daycamp for Special Needs and Learning Disabled children called Impact that was ran out of Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY. I got kicked out mid-Summer 2001 for standing up to a Bully (who was a year my senior) who had been physically assaulting me and verbally abusing me (calling me a fag, telling me I have no friends because Im "a loser", typical tweenage nonsense) from Day 1 of Camp. One day, I got fed up and hurled a wire bound sketch book at this kids face, slicing it open and making him cry. They kicked me out of the camp for that, while doing nothing about the kids who were bullying me (I suspect because they were Manhattan kids with richer parents). To this day I have no regrets about it, that kid got what he deserved.

    My mother was livid that they did nothing to address the type of bullying of a special needs child that this camp was supposed to be a haven from. She eventually had to get Bronx on they ass to get her some of money back

    That being said I have a good friend from this camp who I remain in touch with to this day. So it wasn't a total loss.

    The next two summers, I went to a secular Jewish camp because my best friends Father (a moonlighting Teacher) was a senior counselor there and I got to be in the same "troop" as my friend. That camp was better for me, because all the counselors were Teachers of Teaching student's who knew how to handle kids with special needs.

    My last at age 13 (summer '04) was a Teen Travel camp that I LOATHED. By this time I had gotten into Punk and Metal and just wanted to wander NYC on my own lol. I snuck away from that group every time we were in Manhattan!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    I went to church camp every summer from about 5th grade through my senior year. I had a couple really good friends that I made from a different church a couple hours away and we would get together every few months at various retreats throughout the year. We also would write each other actual letters in between visits and getting mail was always super exciting.

    I did a lot of sports day camps, too. Numerous softball and volleyball clinics, and then marching band camp from my sophomore year of HS through my senior year of college, because I was just that cool.

    I was really shy and didn't love going to camp my first year, but I was also excited to go because my brother went every year and I had some older friends that went. The first year was tough on me, but then once I made a few friends that I knew I would see, I enjoyed it a lot more.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    As for me, I went to a few week long camps as a kid (along with my brothers), but my mom was there as a volunteer in administration so it really wasn't a big deal for me.


    The Girl goes to summer camp for 4 weeks. Its a girls camp that's been around for over 60 years. My SIL went there as a child and sent her 2 kids. She paid for The Girl to go her first year, then we picked up the tab for the rest. This summer marks her 10th year too. Personally I think it was good for her as an only child. She has made lifelong friends and watching her independence has been both fantastic and frustrating at the same time, however I know if the long run it will prove to be a very good thing.
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  8. #8
    I never went to camp myself. Wasn't interested when I was a kid. Plus, I was shipped to one of the grandparents. As I got older, I worked during the summers.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  9. #9
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Every year from 2nd grade through high school.

    1nd-2nd grade-Camp Whispering Pines atop Mt. Lemon, Arizona (Girl Scouts)
    3rd-4th grade-Camp Wamatochick in Prescott, Arizona (Camp Fire)
    5th-6th grade-Camp Melacoma in Washougal, Washington (Camp Fire)
    7th-9th grade-Camp Ghormley in Naches, Washington (church youth group spent a week there every year)
    10th grade-Camp Tadmor in Lebanon, Oregon (non-denominational, had friends that went that year)
    10th-11th grade-Tygh Valley, Oregon. Church youth group camped in the Wasco County fairgrounds for a week, went rafting on the Deschutes River every other day, themed competition the other days, always a blast.

    Oregon also has something called outdoor school for 6th graders which was a sleepaway camp for 3-4 days to learn about nature hands on as part of public school curriculum. I went to Camp Adams in Colton, Oregon, as a 6th grader and was a counselor in high school at Camp Yamhill in Yamhill, Oregon. Also did a couple of weekends at YMCA Camp Collins in Gresham, Oregon.

    RT sadly had zero interest in sleepaway camp, day camp, or being one with nature. She didn't even want to go to day camp preferring to be with my mom or as she got older hanging out at home in the neighborhood with other kids.

    Arabella goes to the Dominican Republic every summer to visit the grandparents. They live on a farm in the countryside. That's Spanish language immersion camp right there complete with sporadic electricity, water that comes 2x a week, chickens, cows, food grown outside, grandparents that don't speak English, and dozens of kids that basically run around and play outside all the time.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  10. #10
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjel View post

    Arabella goes to the Dominican Republic every summer to visit the grandparents. They live on a farm in the countryside. That's Spanish language immersion camp right there complete with sporadic electricity, water that comes 2x a week, chickens, cows, food grown outside, grandparents that don't speak English, and dozens of kids that basically run around and play outside all the time.
    that sounds pretty awesome
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus
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    YMCA - in Pennsylvania - still operating all these years later
    Boy Scout - with my troop in NJ - now the site is county open space
    Boy Scout - with my troop - travelled to Canada, & canoed out to a island
    Boy Scout - Philmont, NM
    Boy Scout - counselor for 2 summers in upstate NY - still operating all these years later

  12. #12
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Camp Wakeshma 1978
    Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp 1980
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Marching band camp, senior year of high school (late summer '88) was the only true sleep-away camp for me (sadly no Alyson Hannigan in the band ). Baseball camps once or twice a summer every year from 8 years old until I figured out I couldn't hit breaking pitches (the local college was a NCAA D-II powerhouse in the 70s and 80s). That's it.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  14. #14
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjel View post
    Oregon also has something called outdoor school for 6th graders which was a sleepaway camp for 3-4 days to learn about nature hands on as part of public school curriculum. I went to Camp Adams in Colton, Oregon, as a 6th grader and was a counselor in high school at Camp Yamhill in Yamhill, Oregon. Also did a couple of weekends at YMCA Camp Collins in Gresham, Oregon.
    My school did that in 6th grade and I remember it being a blast. My mom was a chaperone when I went and she stayed in her cabin the entire week reading and smoking cigarettes and I remember the girls that were in her cabin said she was the best chaperone ever because she let them do whatever they wanted as long as they didn't hurt one another or wake her up. That definitely sounds like my mom! It's been nearly 30 years since I was in 6th grade but I occasionally run into some of the girls who were in her cabin and they still mention how great she was.

    The school my daughter goes to sends the 5th graders to camp for a week each spring. They actually go to the same camp that I went to in 6th grade (which is actually the Jewish campground I mentioned in my first post).

    Quote Originally posted by kjel View post
    Arabella goes to the Dominican Republic every summer to visit the grandparents. They live on a farm in the countryside. That's Spanish language immersion camp right there complete with sporadic electricity, water that comes 2x a week, chickens, cows, food grown outside, grandparents that don't speak English, and dozens of kids that basically run around and play outside all the time.
    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    that sounds pretty awesome
    I agree. How do I sign myself up?

    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Camp Wakeshma 1978
    Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp 1980
    Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp 1981
    My wife went to Blue Lake too! ... of course it was about 15 years after you though.
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  15. #15
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I agree. How do I sign myself up?
    Join my parents' church - they do a lot of work in the DR.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  16. #16
    Cyburbian MD Planner's avatar
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    I've never ever heard of it being called sleepaway camp. It was always just camp. A week at Boy Scout camp every summer which was totally awesome. We had all kinds of various classes you could sign up for in order to earn merit badges but there was always plenty of free time. I was quite the master of turtle catching at the lake. Ah, good old Camp Sinoquipe. Like JNA I also went to Philmont in New Mexico. An incredible experience in the Rockies for sure. August will be 34 years since I went and I still remember it vividly. Particularly the Philmont Arrowhead patch which you only can wear if you've done a trek. "Don't lose it, don't trade it and don't sell it" was the mantra. I've still got mine.
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