I have been talking about it for months, probably since the end of last summer, and now it is finally here. “What?” I hear you ask. Camp. I am back for my third summer at Indian and Forest Acres Camps in Fryeburg, Maine. Indian Acres (IA) and Forest Acres (FA) are brother and sister camps separated by 2.2 miles and the Fryeburg Fairgrounds. I blogged a little bit from camp last summer, so if you dig back through my archives you should be able to find a little bit. Hopefully this summer, with my blog in a new (hopefully permanent) home I will have the time to blog more about the camp experience.
I have been a camp person all my life. I started back in 1994 at Yavneh, a Jewish summer camp in New Hampshire. I went there as a camper through 2000 and then in 2001 I went on their 6-week Israel program. After that summer in Israel I headed off to work at Micah on the recommendation of my sister. I spent three summers there and then took a 3-summer hiatus from camp. After the Les Mis year at PTC I was able to return to camp, this time to IA/FA as they are owned by a friend of the family who asked me to come. Needless to say, I love being back at camp, and I love being here.
We often talk about how the kids go home and spend nine months of the year waiting for the two that they spend here at camp. This holds true not only for the kids but also for the real camp people like myself. I love my real job, but there is nothing that compares to working at a summer camp. I think that this is one of the most rewarding jobs that there is. When you see kids get so excited about the things that they do at camp, the new activities they try or the friends they make and the fears that they master, there is no great feeling of pride than knowing that you helped get them there. The real camp people are not in this for the money, we don’t really get much, it is the other rewards that make the job worthwhile.
When I arrive at camp I always feel like I haven’t left. Almost everything seems to be exactly the way it was. Unfortunately today, that meant the rain as well, but we are hoping that this summer will be a little drier than last. The things that I left in my cabin are still there, other things that were left around camp are still around camp. Some things probably shouldn’t have been left around camp but were… Within minutes the old routines fall back into place, and life continues as if there hadn’t been a nine month break in the middle.
I think that summer camp, in some form, is something that every child should get to experience. I know that camps like IA/FA and the camps that I attended are not always the most affordable summer solutions, but the benefits of camp on children is just amazing. Seeing how much children grow and learn in eight weeks is amazing. Then when you see those same kids come back year-after-year and you continue to watch them, it means even more. There is so much that kids can take away from the experience.
So, I am here, gearing up for the summer. I have some unpacking of my own stuff left to do and lots of other things to take care of around camp. We have some time before the kids get here, but now that I am here, I know that the end will feel like it came so fast. One day at a time and make the most of every day, that is the key to a great summer.