Don’t Question Sleep-Away
I am quite suspicious of those who don’t go to sleep away camp.
When I am slaving away at my homework and assignments all day long; during the school year, there is one thing that can always make me feel at ease. Counting down the days until camp. I just remind myself that there are only a few months left until I can return safely to my summer home in good old Sweden, Maine. Only a few more months until I will be back in my white shirts, blue shorts, and tennis shoes, with a smile that takes up my whole face. Camp is my life, and when I say my life, I am not kidding around. I’ve gone to the same camp for eight years. Yes, I have been going since I was 9 years old. I even came back to be a CIT (counselor in training) at age 16, with a bunch of my friends, because I could not get enough of it.
Every summer, I return to Camp Tapawingo with my dearest and closest friends that I have made from years past. Oh, by the way, when I say friends, I mean girlfriends. Every year we share more experiences that make the bond between us stronger and stronger. My camp friends aren’t just friends that I have during the summer that I forget about until the next time I see them. They are people that I could do absolutely nothing with, and have the time of my life. Basically, they are my best friends in the entire world. We talk on the phone, text, instant message, and facebook “stalk” each other at least 10 times a day. And the best part is that it never gets old.
Now, here’s the thing. Say I am having a conversation with someone about plans for the summer, and the person asks me what I am going to do. I tell them that I’m going to camp for 7 weeks (duh). The most typical response that I receive from a non-sleep away camp-go-er is something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh! Why? Is your mom making you?” or “Sleep away camp? Isn’t that for 10 year olds?” or “7 weeks?! That is too long to be away from home,” or my all time favorite, “All girls?! And you wear a uniform? That’s so weird.”
These ridiculous presumptions about camp are made from people who have never gone and just don’t understand the concept. It makes me want to rip out the hair from my head when I hear people judge camp when they have never gone! It just doesn’t make sense to me. The fact of going to an all girls camp for basically the entire summer is just out of the question for these people. They think that it’s a waste of time and that they could be experiencing so many life changing things, instead of going to a sleep away camp. However, camp is the life changing experience!
Also, what really bugs me is the other kind of people who say that they go to sleep away camp, when really they just went to a lacrosse camp for a week in upstate New York. No! No! No! That is NOT camp. First off, a camp based off of one activity does not count. Second of all—a week? Pathetic! Everlasting bonds cannot be made in a week! And for goodness sake, leave the state! Camp can’t be in the state that you live in. It needs to be in a place away from home, hence, sleep away camp. However, the most preposterous kind of “camp” is co-ed. Sleep away camp should be traditional. Camp isn’t just a girl thing, boys can do it too and love it just as much, but mixing genders doesn’t have the same effect. It’s all about sisterhood and brotherhood. The two don’t mix when it comes to camp.
The point is, is that traditional sleep away camp is so special because of the experience. The camp experience is not improving skills in a sport, becoming a great dancer, or absolutely loving the activities. The experience comes from being with your friends and learning about yourself and other people.
I personally cannot even think about a better way to spend my summer, then be packed in a bug infested bunk with girls that I have grown up with since the age of 9, for seven weeks of my summer. If it were up to me, camp would be all year round. School could be at camp...I mean, why not?
To those to don’t go to sleep away camp, never have, and never will—don’t be so quick to judge. It’s the most incredible experience any one could ever have. I guess the truth is, no one gets it unless they have gone!