Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Letter from Camp....

It has been more than twenty years since my children went, and equally as long since I received a letter from summer camp, but last week one came from my oldest granddaughter, who has been at Girl Scout camp for a week.

Blogger doesn't want me to upload the scanned image of the letter to the post, so I will have to tell you about it.

The camp provided a form letter for the children to fill out. Here is a sampling, with her writing in red:

Dear Grandma,
I am having an excellent time at Girl Scout Camp.
Today, we climbed the 35' rock wall, swam, and played basketball.
Tomorrow, we will um....I'm not sure!
The food is X great, _____good, _____just OK, _____horrible.
My favorite counselor is Lifeguard!
The best thing so far has been swimming in the pool!
I have made some new friends! Their names are Haley, Amanda, Stephanie and Mandy!
See you soon!
She added a P.S.: "Thank you so much for the letter. Our unit does have good toilets and showers, and yes, we have done some of those things and they were all fun."

She was referring to archery, riflery, lanyard-making, singing around the campfire, and others I mentioned that I used to do at camp. I was surprised to see a form letter, but I suppose a form letter is the best way of making sure that the children will send a letter at all. However I got it, it warmed the cockles of this grandma's heart!

Sunday, my oldest grandson left for his first camp experience. He will be away for two weeks, nestled in a mountain-top valley in Southwestern Virginia, in rustic (if not downright rugged)cabins. He is about to find out what it is like for a child who has never been without a video game or a TV, to be without any electronics for 14 days, and what it is like to use latrines instead of porcelain toilets, and where you cannot suggest what you might like to eat for the three meals per day, or be allowed to snack at will.

I am wondering what he will think of it, and whether he will rebel or learn to love this camp and the people he befriends there, as his mom, aunt and uncle did. I hope he does, and I will write to him while he is there, just to bring a little memory of home to that 2 weeks.

Late edit: I just got a phone call from his mother and aunt, both of whom attended the camp last when they were about 12-14 and they are now nearly 35 and 37. When they got to the camp, they ran into 3-4 people with whom they had attended camp back in the 80's. Those people were bringing their own children to the session. I have no doubt that if the world lasts another 30 years, some of my great-grandchildren will go there as well. What a nice tradition! I think they were hoping to see a camper they knew way back when, who has since become somewhat well-known as an actor - Jared Leto. I am sure my grandson was happy to find out they now have composting toilets, rather than the smelly out-houses of yore......LOL. The tree house that my son and his cohorts built back in the 70's is gone; perhaps his nephew will help to build a new one, which will be used in years to come by his brother and sisters and cousins. I surely hope so.


margalit said...

How timely. I just got the FUNNIEST letter from my daughter who is away at camp. She starts out saying that she had another boating accident (last year had her on crutches for 2 weeks of camp) and then started the backstory, only to leave me totally hanging as to what the injury actually was, and what the accident was, because she "had to go and mail this". So I'm completely in the dark. She's OK, the camp would have called otherwise, but geesh!

Here from Michele

Shephard said...

As someone who never had the camp experience, it was interesting to read about it all.
~S :)

Pearl said...

How neat that they should meet up at the equivalent stage of life again.

I tried sending out form letters to family who didn't write but they thought they were too creative to part. Next time I'll have to send a stack to each.

Star said...

I still have the letters mmy girls wrote frrom Scout Camp. The same camp I attended 20 years before. They are priceless. I am a bit chagrined by the form letter though.

Raehan said...

That is very sweet, form letter or not. I never went to camp as a child, but was a counselor when I go older.

Shane said...

they should have mandatory summer camp for adults. i miss it - fresh air. high elevation. fun stuff.

poopie said...

Ahh..girl scout camp in the july heat. Does it get much better?? When I went back in ummm...the sixties, I didn't take a shower the whole two weeks.

joared said...

How I longed to be able to go to Girl Scout camp, even just an overniter. I was happy, though, to actually visit for an all-day camp one time; then return home.

Brownies, then "flying up" to Girl Scouts; still remember the songs we sang at the end of each meeting: "Day is done, Gone the sun ..." etc. followed by "Now run along home, and jump into bed, ..." etc.

I still have my pins, the badges I earned. Also, that's where I was introduced to S'mores!!

From what my granddtr tells me the GS sound somewhat different from what I remember. For one thing, don't think they "fly up" any more.

Aren't the memories wonderful, and to get to meet old friends after so many years; even to have generational memories is truly special.

Carmi said...

It's awe-inspiring to see this tradition move from generation to generation. When I think back to my own camp experiences, I realize that the seeds of who I ultimately became were solidly planted during my time in a tent.

And I totally relate to the fave being the lifeguard. They were my favorites when I went to camp, too. And I became one...and leveraged the experience in pretty much everything I did in media afterward.

Thank you for sharing this (I know I say it a lot, but your experiences are so illustrative of how I hope my family evolves.)

Jamie Dawn said...

My son attended summer camp for a week in Texas.
He had such fun!
I'm glad your grandkids are going. I think it's a great experience, and being without the TV and video games is a good thing for awhile.

scrappintwinmom said...

I never had the camp experience but am looking forward to sending my girls...and I was never a GS either...but I'm dying to see my girls in those cute uniforms!!
Here via Michele as always!

Diane Mandy said...

Southwester, Virginia is a beautiful place. I grew up there and am sure your grandson will have a fabulous time. My first camp, when I was 12 years old, was actually a writing camp at UVa for two weeks. I remember it like it was yesterday and one of my fondest childhood memories! I'm lad your grandchildren are getting the experience.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Ah the days of yore, at Camp Similac (?)..well, something like that.

And down in California, at a Red Cross camp...somewhere.

Don't know if I left my mark, but I do know I had loads of fun, as will your junior.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Ah the days of yore, at Camp Similac (?)..well, something like that.

And down in California, at a Red Cross camp...somewhere.

Don't know if I left my mark, but I do know I had loads of fun, as will your junior.

Lisa said...

What memories your post brought back for me! I went to Girl Scout camp every single summer, starting when I was just old enough to go, and on to when I was too old to go any more! That didn't stop me, though. I just became a camp counselor and did that for 3 more years. :-) Such magical summers...

Raggedy said...

Your post brought back some very fond memories for me. I went to many a summer camp. Getting a letter from your granddaughter is awesome! That is so neat that the next generation is heading off to the same camp. I am glad she is having so much fun.

Have a wonderful day!
(=':'=) meow hugs
(")_ (")Š from da Raggedy one

mar said...

This is an all-American tradition, I remember when my American friends told me their kids where going to the same camp they went to when they were very young. How nice that the tradition goes on!And love the form-letter!!!

rampant bicycle said...

Now I kind of wish I had ever gone to camp... :)

Hello from Michele's!

Wystful1 said...

I like the form letter, a lot. Ya know, only a grandmother would love this---it WOULD warm my heart too if I received this from my 10 year old grandson. Yep, yesirree.

Love the post.

Happy Monday.

Wordnerd said...

LOVE the form letter!!! Great post!

Terri said...

What a great letter keepsake for Grandma. That was so cute! And I'm sure she'll get a kick out of it, years from now, when you take it out to show her.
Memories are so special.

Seamus said...

It's a week down memory lane methinks!
Funny now that they provide "form letters" but I'm sure it works!

BTW - the blogger upload thing - switch to Mozilla and the upload problem will disappear. Don't know why IE and Blogger aren't getting along but they don't seem to be fixing the problem. :(

Inanna said...

I just read your "finding birth mother" story below. wOW!

colleen said...

My son Dylan went to the camp I think you are refering too. And I do think I know the woman you met. Would her last name be Cochran?

kontan said...

how cool that they give them a guide to get started with a letter home. thanks for sharing!

srp said...

I bet it is a REAL shock to be without video games for the kids in this day and age. It is a good experience for them in the long run. I enjoyed my camps and so did Nyssa.

Mamacita said...

I'm here from Michele's this time but I usually come here on my own, as you well know.

I sent my daughter to the same camp I went to as a kid. When I walked into her cabin, the air smelled exactly the same. There were some of my friends' initials carved into the rafters. And the cooks were the same.

I grinned all the way home.

I also mailed several letters and cards to her a few days before we even left the house, so she'd have mail from day one.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Because I was sent to camp so very young it was a traumatic experience for me...So, I am happy when I hear that someone had a great experience as a child...It sure was not the best place for me and if I had had children, I don't believe I ever would have sent them to camp because of my own horrible experience!
That was a darling letter from your grandaughter even if it was a form letter...I loved the way she filled in her answers including not knowing what the next day would bring! (lol)