TOP TEN FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT CAMP
by Stacy Davidowitz
Hi, friends. As a camp lifer, and an obsessed one at that, you’ll see that a lot of my personal favorites about sleepaway camp inspire much of the CAMP ROLLING HILLS series. I mean, you write what you know. Right? Here. We. Go!
10. LAZY WEDNESDAYS
A normal camp schedule is GO GO GO. Reveille sounds at 7:45am. You’ve got six periods jam-packed with activities. On Lazy Wednesdays, reveille is pushed back an hour. You eat donuts and cereal on your cabin porch. Bagel buffet lunch. BBQ dinner. Chill activities in between. It’s a nice break from the hustle.
Evening trips to the local movie theater and bowling alley are always a treat. And the trips get better with age: Washington D.C., Toronto, Montreal. Real adventures to look forward to toward the end of the summer.
8. CANTEEN / EVENING ACTIVITIES
Canteen is not only great for post-dinner frozen pizzas, hamburgers, and a gaga selection of candy, but it’s a chance to hang with your friends—boys and girls—in a lounge-type setting. Evening activities are often coed, too, and range from pool parties to drag beauty contests to talent shows to hypnosis acts to dances!
So much spontaneous cheering. So much random clapping. Mealtime generates an average of 432 cheers. Sports events: 561. Color War events: infinity spirit.
Your counselors will hail from Canada, Australia, London, New Zealand, Israel, Russia, and so on. They’ll teach you about their culture and learn from yours. Or they’ll be once-campers turned counselors with legendary stories of their past high jinx. I am still close to the campers I counseled from freshmen (the little ones) to CITs (counselors-in-training). And I still keep in touch with some of the counselors I had growing up!
What is the Watermelon Sacrifice you ask? One-eyed Sailors? Wonder Woman Kidnap? Ghost Court? The Cisco and the Hawk? Lee Kweller songs? The Hatchet Hunt? Breakout? Fakeouts? The Burning of the Numbers? They’re random, inexplicably weird and awesome traditions that make my camp, Tyler Hill, unique and special. Traditions are the beating heart of every camp.
First dance. First rock wall climb. First leg shave. First stained glass picture frame. First candy-stripe stitch friendship bracelet. First freezing shower. First skunk encounter. First handwritten letter home. First homerun. First raid. First kiss. All the firsts.
There are usually three SINGs. One for Girls’ Side, one for Boys’ Side, and one for Color War. Let’s focus on the Girls’ and Boys’ SINGs. Each age group chooses a theme and writes a march (upbeat rally song) and an alma mater (heartstring pulling slow song) around that theme. The songs are popular radio hits or old school hits—the campers and counselors just write their own lyrics over them. It’s very competitive and requires serious planning and rehearsal. As a camper at Tyler Hill, my themes over the years were: Sophomore New Yorkers, Jedi Juniors, The Señoritas, Super Models, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As a counselor, my campers’ themes were Freshman Circus, Cadet Camelot, Cadet Newsies, Sophomore Stone Age, Junior J-Date, Double 0 Seniors, and Senior Sopranos. In Book Three of the CAMP ROLLING HILLS series, to be released in Spring 2017, I actually recycled the alma mater I wrote for my freshmen girls back in 2002!
2. COLOR WAR
Book Three of the CAMP ROLLING HILLS SERIES is all about this! Basically at the end of the summer, camp is split into two teams for a weeklong fierce competition in all things camp: sports, trivia, the Apache Relay, Bucket Brigade, Rope Burn, Hatchet Hunt, and of course, SING! Being awarded Color War General was one of the greatest honors of my life!
Your camp friends will be your best friends for life. They’ve lived with you, laughed with you, grown with you, and know you to your core.
There’s a million more reasons why camp is awesome. All million reasons are in the CAMP ROLLING HILLS series. So, kick back and soak in the summer fun:)