Inspired by prompt number five over at Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop: “What summer means to your family.” I do have to say, I consider myself very lucy because I have a job where I get the summers off, so I can actually do things in the summer.
If you actually follow my blog you probably can see that I spend a lot of time (especially lately) talking about summer camp. Camp is what I do for the summer and what I have done for the summer since 1994 (overnight camp that is). I missed three summers at camp due to college and work, but other than that I have been a camper or staff regularly. I also did day-camp pre ’94, but I seem to not usually count that in my camp experience, though it was a fun time and I do remember bits and pieces of it.
When I talk about camp, I really do think of the camp community as family. In fact, there were a couple times when I almost used the words “camp family” in the first paragraph of this post. Thankfully, my real family saw the wonderful things that camp had to offer and decided to send me to camp. I suppose I should also be thankful that I also enjoyed being at camp. There are very few things that I would rather be doing during the summer than being at camp.
I have been to three different overnight camps, one as a camper from 1994-2001 and two as staff. The camp that I currently work for is actually two camps, a boys and a girls camp called Indian and Forest Acres (respectively). Since the first day that I set foot on the campus at IA and FA I have felt welcome and at home. The people here really are like my extended family or my summer family. It is so amazing how that happens, to walk in to a new place and to feel accepted and welcomed in like family is just unbelievable, and that is one of the most special things about these camps. There are people here who I know that I could call on when I need something at any time of the year. These are people who I see for only two months out of the year but they mean a great deal to me.
So, when I think about what summer means to my family, it is really a twofold question. To my biological family it is usually a time to relax, take some time off from work, watch the dogs play, and spend time together. We spend time at our home in New Hampshire and go hiking and such and we also often spend time at my uncle’s home on Martha’s Vineyard. It is a time to go to baseball games with my grandparents who have been taking us grandkids since we were old enough to walk. Going to the Red Sox games is always an experience with my grandparents and it is a lot of fun. It is something I look forward to every summer.
To my camp family, summer is life. We like to say that we spend ten months of the year looking forward to the two that we live together. As soon as you step foot back on camp you feel like you never left, and even the campers who are new get welcomed with hugs and open arms. The summer for this family is a time of learning, growing, bonding, and fun. Amazing lifetime friendships are kindled and every summer, without fail, every camper and staff member discovers something new about himself/herself and his/her friends. In some ways I feel like camp is really the time and place that you can really be who you are and who you want to be. Staff and campers here do things that they would never do in front of or with their friends at home.
Summer is a time to be free, to run around and play. It is a great time of year to explore both the world around us and ourselves, and I hope that it will always be something that I can really take advantage of!