My school year as a preschool teacher ended last Thursday with a breakfast celebration in our school garden that every single family attended. The weather was perfect. The baked goods (prepared by my kiddos) were delicious. The families were so happy to enjoy the time together with each other and the children that we never even got to our traditional speaking program. It was supposed to last an hour. We stayed in the garden until lunchtime!
Today, we begin our summer program.
Because Covid has changed EVERYTHING, this year, most of my students are continuing with us through the summer. So, they had one day off on “vacation” while we staffers cleaned our rooms and reset for “camp.” All of them will be back tomorrow. Most families are taking a week or two off this summer, but it is hardly the exodus we usually have where our international students return home for the two months between semesters.
Still, it is officially summer, and that always reminds me of my years at summer camp. I was a camper for a few years, and a camp counselor for several more. It has been my experience that you either loved camp or hated it. I loved it. Some of my best lifelong friendships were made at camp.
Here are some of my summer camp memories that are keeping me going this week:
- Making lanyards out of gimp (that plastic linguini-like thread that seems to only exist at summer camp) and friendship bracelets from embroidery floss.
- Camp songs—especially cadence songs you sing to set the pace for moving from here to there. Bonus points if the cadence songs are call-and-response.
- Mud football. At some point in every summer, there is a perfect rainstorm—it’s still warm out, the rain is falling hard enough to make the field (or playground) a mess, and there is no lightning. When it comes, we get out there and play some ball, slipping and sliding and having a blast.
- Pulling pranks. Lighthearted, cleverly executed, funny… those are the pranks that make the summer memorable. Nothing mean-spirited, messy, or dangerous. I am in my 50s. My camp friends and I still reminisce about the time *SOMEBODY* stacked all the mess hall tables into a pyramid, or the time we decorated an injured friend’s crutches while she slept.
- Campfires with friends, a guitar, and s’mores. Food for the body and soul.
If you were never a summer camp kid, or if you were and find yourself feeling nostalgic, do yourself a favor and watch the underrated (in my opinion) Bill Murray film “Meatballs.” It is sure to bring a smile to your soul.
What summer memories are keeping you going this week?