Camp Check-In

Have you ever waited at a camp check-in for overnight camp?  The nervous and the calm moms, the braggarts, the newbies, a few dads sitting in plastic chairs while the kids start clamoring and the anticipation builds until 2:00–when the kids can find out their cabins and make a mad dash to get a bunk next to their friends.

The camp is truly a wonderful place, with all the typical activities: horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, crafts, any number of sports, singing, campfires, with the children all learning about others and themselves. Realistically, I don’t think the camp activities have changed much from a camp I attended as a young teen.

My friend Laura and I have a routine, now in our third year taking our four girls to camp in Indiana (first year for our younger set).  We leave early morning, then stop at the most fabulous German bakery a short drive from the camp for lunch.  We arrive in the staging area about 1:00, pull up our chairs and grab our books, while the girls wander about the grounds.  We talk quietly; there is not stage, but you would not know that from some of the other mothers around us.  They babble loudly, glancing to see who is looking, as they ramble about their kids’ experiences at the camp before,  how many girls they already know, blah-blah-blah.

Shortly before check-in, the staff realized they did not have enough check-in tables. They told people they would open 3 more lines, so people could move over. I was stunned to see some very uncharitable behaviour displayed at this Christian camp.  As a row or two in front of us moved over, we stood to move up to take their empty chairs.  Instead, a group of moms behind us practically pushed us out of the way to move ahead of us. I felt like I was in Filene’s Basement crush looking at wedding dresses.  How embarassing–in front of their children!

As we drove to their cabins to drop off their bags (the teen bags like kryptonite, what can they possibly have in there?) on the gravel one-way road around the cabins, people drove in every direction, clamoring to get a spot.  Once the bunks were secured, the pushy moms’ anxiety level must have decreased tenfold.  As I waited with my blinker on to turn into a parking spot, a woman cut me off to get in first!  Crazy, as there was another open spot and my girls were already situated.

I am certain that once all the families left, the kids were perfectly content to revel in being with all kids. And hopefully didn’t learn any lessons from their parents that day.  I am hopeful that once the girls complete their non-electronic two-weeks of fun with no ipod, phone, computer, TV, Wii , they will find other activites to fill their summer hours once they get home. Wishful thinking, perhaps. C


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