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It's summer camp, summer camp, sum sum summer camp

 
 
jespah
 
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 09:57 am
When I was a kid, and then later when I was an actual honest to goodness teenager, I attended summer camp. I started off at my great-uncle's camp, Ben-Ann (named after him and my great-grandmother), which no longer exists but was in Kerhonksen, New York. I was there at age 6 and 8 so we're talking the summers of 1969 and 1971. Then I moved onto Longacres, a horseback riding camp somewhere in upstate New York. I was just there one year, for the summer of 1974 (I was 11).

Then, the following year, I found Cony Grant Farm Preserve in lovely Bingham, Maine. I attended from age 12 to age 15 which, coincidentally, was the last year said camp was in existence. The camp ended up being shut because the directors were getting a divorce. Anyway, I was there from the summer of 1975 through the summer of 1978.

And, I loved it. It was very rustic and exceedingly small. There was neither electricity nor running water. We lived in tents and tended a real-live farm with animals. Plus there was swimming and horseback riding, plus mountain climbing and canoeing. It was a very unconventional, accepting place.

I have great memories of it, one of which is recounted here: http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1671671#1671671

Did you attend a summer camp? When? Where? What did you do there? What do you remember? C'mon, let's get out the lanyard-making kit and have some fun! Smile
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 10:05 am
Oh boy, every year. Except that they were 'pioneer camps'. As the future of our then communist homeland, we had to obey strict discipline. Whistle at 6am, get dressed in uniforms, make beds, clean up by 6:30 - another whistle, morning exercises - raise the flag, sing an anthem, exercise. go change, breakfast from 7:30 to 8am, then morning program -depending on the camp - some had hiking, or nature studies, some were russian conversation camps, or history...lunch, afternoon program, raising flag again, dinner, after dinner 'entertainment program' - which was usually alocated by room. Each room would have to prepare some program -songs, improvisations, whatever. by 9pm we all had to be showered, in bed, and lights off.

it still was a ton of fun each year.
0 Replies
 
mac11
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 10:12 am
I went to summer camp at ages 11 - 13 (1970-1972). I'll come back with some reminiscences. Very Happy
0 Replies
 
Gargamel
 
  2  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 11:34 am
Boy do I have some horror stories.

In the mid eighties, I went to camp Wowitan (Menomonee for "This blows," I think). There were two camps kids from my neighborhood went to. One where you stayed overnight and did cool stuff like shoot bb guns. Then there was the day camp for weird kids with behavioral problems--guess which one my mom sent me to? Not the one with guns, my friends.

There was always one kid who went ballistic if you knocked his glasses off his face. That's the kind of place this was.

Each day began with a 30 minute bus ride to West Bend, Wisconsin, during which the counselors had us play invigorating, imaginative games like, "Who can shut the hell up the longest?"

I remember several horrors. Someone threw a pair of tighty-whities soiled with shitstains at me during sing along. I remember a kid who did a terrible Cindy Lauper impersonation. I remember a kid who kept calling me "nigger" in spite of my pasty Irish complexion--I threw a turtle he had caught back into the water, in retaliation. I remember this little kid came screaming into the locker/chagning room by the swimming pool, once, and either he had no genitals or they were tucked between his legs.

This is all true.

The worst was the year I was split up from my only friend, the only other kid from the city seemingly. And I LITERALLY, LITERALLY had a Lord of the Flies experience. I was put in a group led by an attractive female counselor, whose beauty elicited from the mostly male group (we were around ten years old) residual instincts from infancy. What I mean is, these kids started talking baby talk. They invented their own language.

If there's one thing I hate, it's a couple of pricks who invent a new language for a day, which only they can understand.

So all these kids in my group are talking like babies, and one day the group takes a hike to the top of this tree covered hill, where we are to spend the day. At this point they are playing with the counselor's hair, grabbing her legs, and putting their heads in her lap, etc.

I clearly did not belong to the club, but the boys invented an initiation ritual should I want to join. Apprehensively, I agreed. But in the middle of the ceremony, when I was prostrate against the trunk of a large tree, and the leader was poking a stick between my legs, I ditched the rite, and the group came running after me.

Luckily, I was wearing my beloved cammo pants. I darted through trees, slid down slopes, and sucessfully shook those douchebags.

At the end of the summer, I earned the lead part in the group play, which we were to perform on parents night. It was some generic "Indian" tale about why we cannot look at the sun for too long, probably written by some University of New Mexico anthropology major in the 1970s. I was eager for my family and my cousins to arrive, to see me in the play, and I was eager to enjoy the company of nonfreaks. This was also the one night we were allowed to stay overnight.

But the family car broke down and they couldn't make it.

That night, I shared a tent with the lead moron in the group. He made fun of my smurf sleeping bag and called me "nigger." But I knew I had gotten the best of him, because he was still pissed that I had set his turtle free. That dick.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 03:19 pm
Gawd.

I do recall a no-talent night on weekends. Mostly, this involved singing in a group called The Liberettes (the counselors had a group called The Chauvinettes). We all parted our hair on the side. I was the only girl in the group. We did a parody of "My Boyfriend's Back" which was about a teen pregnancy (My boyfriend's back, and I'm gonna get in trouble, hey la, hey la, my boyfriend's back ...).
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 05:57 pm
this one summer at band camp.......
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 06:30 pm
Damn, Gargamel. Great story though/ good material.

I went to a variety of camps, some were really good. The one that comes to mind though was a horseback riding camp I went to when I was maybe 14 -- my "best friend", who I'd started to regard as a sort of witch with supernatural powers over me, had persuaded me to come with her. This was when I was freshly going deaf and things were all over the place -- could hear fine, then really really couldn't.

I mostly remember understanding nothing, being utterly ignored by my friend who had no patience for my difficulties in understanding her, writing in my journal a lot and finding out that she, her older sister, and her sisters friend had read it (and of course made use of it). My inchoate rage was focused on another camper who I called Piggy and whose very existence was enough to make my head explode. I can still clearly call forth an image of her bobbling along ahead of me on her horse and feel the hate.

This happened to me a lot in high school. Basically, I was learning to read minds. It's not lipreading, it's a lot more than that. And while this was happening, before I learned to modulate or even knew how it worked, other people's misery was unbearable to me.
Sturgis
 
  2  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 07:08 pm
I went to a camp in Bristol Connecticut back in the days before horses had been invented...actually around 1960 give or take a year.

Anyway the camp was associated with the Methodist Church (I think) and I was sent there for two weeks when I was 9 and again when I was 10.

Got stung by a dragon fly or a wasp or something and almost drowned and almost fell off a cliff along with battling numerous daddy long legs spidery things and trying to keep from losing my mind.

When it was time to return home I was collected by the church lady...well wasn't that special...anyway she was the church youth pastor and she got me back home where I found a note from my parents saying they had been kidnapped by a band of gypsies (or was it a robin surrounded by merry men?).

All joking aside, it's been some 40+ years and I have only dim memories of the whole thing but I seem to recall it being a lot of fun.
0 Replies
 
mac11
 
  2  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 09:47 pm
There were parts of camp I loved and parts I hated. My sister and I went together, but I rarely saw her. I remember a few times seeking her out when I was homesick and vice versa. It was good to have her nearby.

The first camp I went to, the session lasted a week. I didn't shower the whole time because I couldn't handle the group shower. Thank goodness we swam every day, and even so, I'm sure it was pretty hard to ride in the car with me on the way home! Shocked

The second camp I managed the hygiene situation better Rolling Eyes and had a great time. I loved some of the classes - crafts, creative writing, canoeing, and riflery were great. But we also had charm class and cheerleading and a few other questionable activities. When we went back for a second summer, things got very religious. Bible study was a required activity. My mom truly freaked out about that after the fact and has since referred to the camp as "that place that had Jesus on the salt shakers."

I still remember a lot of camp songs. Isn't that weird? Wouldn't you think I'd forget them after 33 years?
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2005 09:57 pm
Dag, that's just fascinating. I would be willing to hear more.
0 Replies
 
Lord Ellpus
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 01:08 am
Fascinating stuff!....Really.

The whole summer camp thing doesn't really exist in Britain. Maybe a few for the rich kids nowadays, in a "trendy", hey guys, let's all learn pottery, sort of way.

We (about twenty of us, aged between 6 and 12) used to be let loose on the streets of London for about six weeks. A sort of modern day "artful dodger" scenario, really.

A lot of time was spent, hatching various money spinning enterprises, including the favourite "bubble gum on a stick routine".
There was this nearby newsagents who used to stack all the papers outside because he didn't want to open his shop too early. The customers would pick up a paper and pay for them by putting coins through the letter box (slot) in the door.
Now, this slot was about six inches from the bottom of the door, and we soon worked out that the coins were reachable with the use of some form of gadget.
After spending hours trying to locate a small magnet, and then trying for ages to attach it securely to the end of a stick, we then discovered that the coins were not magnetic. We all knew the word "bugger" at that tender age, and used it profusely on this occasion.
A friend of mine then thought up the bubble gum idea. We all sat and champed "Anglo" bubbly gum until it had achieved the correct stickiness, wedged the communal blob onto the end of a short bamboo stick, and proceeded to rescue enough money each day, so that we could walk into the shop when it opened, and buy more bubble gum.

The other idea was scrap metal.
Our area of London still had many bomb sites from the war (some were still there in the 70's, even). Most were flattened over and gravelled or concreted, but some still showed the original foundations of the old Edwardian houses that were blown to smithereens.
We used to rummage over these sites, trying to find any sort of metal (if my Mum had known, she'd have thrown a fit) and then go and sell it to the man at the scrapyard, about a mile away. Visions of more bubble gum played through our minds.
Again, being very enterprising, we thought it would be more efficient if we melted the lead down into "ingots" before selling it. Don't ask me why this was thought as a good idea....maybe it was the opportunity to have a bonfire somewhere, in order to carry out wonderful melting experiments.
A small hacksaw was produced, the lead piping was cut into small chunks and placed into an empty cat food tin, and this was placed over the fire.
When it had melted, the tin was lifted by means of a couple of pairs of pliers, and poured into an ingot shaped dent we had made in the earth.

It didn't work, and my brother burned his foot in the process.

It didn't really matter though, 'cos we knew that many more little enterprises were looming on the horizon.


Happy days.......

This song just about summed us up, really.......

BAGGY TROUSERS (Madness)

Naughty boys in nasty schools
Headmasters breaking all the rules
Having fun and playing fools
Smashing up the woodwork tools
All the teachers in the pub
Passing `round the ready-rub
Trying not to think of when
The lunch-time bell will ring again.

Oh what fun we had
But, did it really turn out bad
All I learnt at school
Was how to bend not break the rules
Oh what fun we had
But at the time it seemed so bad
Trying different ways
To make a difference to the days.

Headmaster`s had enough to-day
All the kids have gone away
Gone to fight with next-door`s school
Every term, that is the rule
Sits alone and bends his cane
Same old backsides again
All the small ones tell tall tales
Walking home and squashing snails.

Oh what fun we had
But, did it really turn out bad
All I learnt at school
Was how to bend not break the rules
Oh what fun we had
But at the time it seemed so bad
Trying different ways
To make a difference to the days.

Lots of girls and lots of boys
Lots of smells and lots of noise
Playing football in the park
Kicking Pushbikes after dark
Baggy trousers, dirty shirt
Pulling hair and eating dirt
Teacher comes to break it up
Banged on the `ead with a plastic cup.

Oh what fun we had
But, did it really turn out bad
All I learnt at school
Was how to bend not break the rules
Oh what fun we had
But at the time it seemed so bad
Trying different ways
To make a difference to the days.

Baggy trousers, baggy trousers, baggy trousers
Baggy trousers, baggy trousers, baggy trousers
0 Replies
 
Lord Ellpus
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 01:37 am
.......Those summer holidays were happening during the late 60's and everyone was into the Beatles and Stones. Psychadelia everywhere.
In order to join in with all the drug taking, we decided to try the old "dried banana skins were as good as marijuana" experiment.

Several bananas were purchased with the scrap metal money, and the oldest looking boy went and bought some cigarettes and rolling paper (Rizla's).
We went to a friend's house (parents at work all day, and they had a new cooker) and ate the bananas, but kept the skins. These skins were carefully placed under the grill, and basically scorched for about ten minutes, in order to dry them out.
Crisp and black on the outside, but soggy in the middle, they were then cut up into the smallest pieces possible and added to the tobacco from a few shredded ciggies.
The oldest boy knew how to roll a joint, and we smoked it (I remember this as if it was yesterday) whilst listening to "Come together" by the Beatles.
Now, I'm not sure if you are aware of this, but semi soggy banana skin doesn't burn very well. In actual fact, it sort of explodes, in a small way.

It didn't matter, as we all convinced ourselves that we were high, and sat there for a while, making peace signs at each other.
Our friend was grounded for a) smoking....(it stunk the house out for quite a while)...and b) making large burn marks on his mum's new cooker.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 06:17 am
Ah, amazing. These are great experiences. I love the Artful Dodger imagery. Smile

And dag! Did you have to wear uniforms? The closest to uniforms was horseback riding camp, and that was just the helmets, but they were for safety's sake, anyway.

That camp, Longacres (I remembered last night that it was in East Aurora, NY, funny the things you remember, so I know what you mean, mac) was almost 100% preteen girls and young teen girls. I think there were 4? 6? boys in the entire camp. I recall doing some sort of a last will and testament skit on the last night of camp and gave one of the boys one of the girls. Hmm.

And songs! Yes, before that night, I recall a madeup song to the tune of "Popeye the Sailor Man". My part had something to do with swimming. I had a white bikini and wore that and carried a towel. The other campers were so, er, challenged, I guess you'd say, that they all thought I was walking around in a bra and panties for the song.

I barely remember the earlier camp but there was singing there, there was a game where you had to think of a song following a particular theme. The themes were always easy, like girl's names. I think that may have been the first time I'd heard the old classic, "Good Night, Irene". The canteen was run by my grandmother. We would get punch cards with various amounts on them and you'd use that to pay for candy. She would give you, I dunno, a 3 Musketeers bar, and punch out the 50 cents (or whatever it cost) space on the card. I never saw that before or since, I think that went the way of much of the old Catskills.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 06:23 am
soz, I can imagine how frustrating/annoying that would have been. It's a shame it wasn't a better experience. I do recall an experience of nastiness by my bunk for a kid who clearly (at this stage of my life as I look back now) was just a little different and really nothing to get all worked up about. I don't remember personally being actively nasty, but it was a good 35 years ago. Kids can be cruel and there was little supervision. Hmm.

Sturgis, ha, are you channeling Alan Sherman? Smile Bristol, CT - I wonder if the camp is still there?
0 Replies
 
Sturgis
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 06:45 am
jespah wrote:

Sturgis, ha, are you channeling Alan Sherman? Smile Bristol, CT - I wonder if the camp is still there?

I took a looksie on the net to try and locate the old camp, I can't find it although there is a wildlife/nature thing-a-ma-jig associated to the name now and in the same area.
And now back to our musical selections and this classic from Alan Sherman:

Hello Muddah, hello Faddah
here I am at Camp Grenada
Camp is very, entertaining
and they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining.

I went hiking with Joe Spivy
he developed poison ivy.
You remember Lynnard Skinner
he got ptomaine poisoning last night after dinner.

All the counselors hate the waiters
and the lake has, alligators
and the head coach wants no sissies
so he reads to us from something called Ulysses.

Take me home, oh Muddah, Faddah
take me home I hate Grenada.
Don't leave me out in the forest
where I might get eaten by a bear.

Take me home I promise I will not make noise
or mess the house with other boys
oh please don't make me stay
I've been here one whole day.

Dearest Faddah, darling Muddah,
how's my precious little bruddah?
Let me come home if you miss me,
I will even let Aunt Bertha hug and kiss me.

Wait a minute...it stopped hailing,
guys are swimming, guys are sailing,
playing baseball, gee that's better.
Muddah, Faddah, kindly disregard this letter.



I'll be back later to sing about the dead goose in 'Go Tell Aunt Rhody'
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 07:12 am
of course, jes. there were uniforms for official use - raising flag, beginning of school year, reciting in the 'Room of Revolutionary Tradition' - kind of a little museum that my school had (i was an idiot that volunteered, the remaining three of our ensemble were forced to recite there. I wanted to be the best pioneer):
http://www.reflex.cz/images/imgdb/original/phpWwgawx.jpg

and there were also uniforms for exercising, too:

http://ronja.lide.fi.cz/spartakiada2.jpg

strangely enough girls wore blue panties-type shorts and boys wore red shorts...
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2005 09:16 am
Wow, that's amazing. <squints> Is that Gus in uniform in the upper photo?
0 Replies
 
fmritt
 
  2  
Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 05:44 pm
@jespah,
Hi...maybe we know each other! I was also at Cony Grant around the same time...when I was 14 and 15, so that would be 1977 and 1978. (I see that your post was from three years ago, so I'd be surprised if this reached you!)
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Wed 22 Oct, 2008 04:00 am
@fmritt,
fmritt wrote:
Hi...maybe we know each other! I was also at Cony Grant around the same time...when I was 14 and 15, so that would be 1977 and 1978. (I see that your post was from three years ago, so I'd be surprised if this reached you!)


Oh God -- my trail of breadcrumbs WORKED!

Yes, I am still here. I think, by definition, we'd have to know each other. I mean, was CGFP ever larger than 30 or so kids? Eek. I'm so excited! Smile

I was one of the Long Island crowd if that helps. Actually, if you want to contact me, you can click "Contact Us" at the bottom of any page (I'm the Project Manager and can read and respond to what would essentially be a Help Desk ticket).

{runs around like a nut, plays Capture the Flag, confuses husband} Very Happy
0 Replies
 
Dobritte
 
  2  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 07:10 am
@fmritt,
I went to the farm also! In 1976 and 77. who are you?
 

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