Tuesday, July 22, 2008

But I'm Paying good Money for This!

The issue of sleep away camp for kids has gotten a lot of airtime, here and on other blogs. Camp is not exactly a cheap thing to pay for. Some people feel pressured to send their kids to camp while others simply feel that it is a great way for kids to enjoy their summer break. But what do the kids say and think?

Years back campers were not allowed to make phone calls home; communication was handled by letters. Counselors had the unenviable task of making sure that campers actually sent letters to their parents. Today, while you still might get a few letters, phoning home is becoming common. And what is the text of those letters and calls? Herewith some common elements gathered from friends.

"I hate camp! Why did you force me to come here!"

"I sure hope you didn't pay a lot for this place. It's not worth anything!"

"The food stinks! I'm not eating again until I get home!"

"Bring some real food on visiting day. They don't feed us here!"

"I hate my counselor/junior counselor! You wouldn't believe the crazy things he/she makes us do!"

"I hate my bunk! They are all against me!"

"I hate___________! Crazy people like_________belong locked up!"

"I finished my canteen money this week. What am I going to do for the next seven weeks?!"

"They served Tuesday surprise again for dinner. I'm not eating anything I can't recognize!"

"Don't worry mom/dad. The camp nurse says I'm not really contagious and it should be all gone by next week."

"Not to worry mom, but the doctor wants to know if I have ever had a vaccination against malaria."

"I forgot to give the camp nurse my______to refrigerate. It's okay though. I'm still taking it because our bunks are as cold as a freezer at night."

"Hey, the good news is that it isn't really broken, just a bad sprain."

"Did you know that bats are really smooth and soft when you pet them?"

"I still throw up on roller coasters."

"Send more shabbos shirts immediately. They somehow got into the wrong part of my laundry and now they are all red/green/yellowish."

(Sent the 4th week of camp) "Are you sure you packed more then two pairs of underwear? I can't find the rest."

"I lost my sneakers during our nature walk yesterday. Please send another pair."

"Did you know that you can use your toothbrush to scrub dirt off your shabbos shoes? Cool thing to know."

"________in my bunk taught us all how to make ourselves barf whenever we want to. Please send up a few cans of Lysol spray because the bunk doesn't smell too good."

"I thought you told me that ________ was a word that no Jewish person should ever use. Funny, you hear it all the time around here."

And one of my all time favorites, sent by a teenage girl who discovered that there is one plug in the bathroom to be used by 22 girls with hair blowers--

"Not to worry, by the time you read this I'll be dead. PS: tell Chaim that he can have my bedroom."


Anonymous said...

I am happy to report that I have gotten far more positive comments and letters from my children over the years. Only my youngest still goes (the older ones are long since working summers) and this is her first year away. She is having a good time, and learning new things.

Anonymous said...

Sure sounds familiar. I remember writing some of these to my parents and I've gotten them from my kids. These are the same kids, by the way, who cry when they finally come home that they wan't to go back to camp.

Anonymous said...

One of our sons once started a conversation from camp with "You know that jacket you bought me? You were right that I needed it. I managed to trade it for Yaakov's comic book collection. Thanks!"

Anonymous said...

I have to add a "letter from camp" story from my own childhood. When i went off to camp for the first time, my only experience with letter writing was elementary school exercises. Those were more formal than I think the are today. Much to my parents' amusement the salutation on my first letter home came out:

"Deat Mr. and Mrs. S."

The closing was:

"Your loving son,

Michael (Middle name) S."

SuperRaizy said...

A woman I know sent her son to camp with ten new bars of soap in his trunk. He returned home after 2 months with...you guessed it...all ten bars of soap, still in their wrappers.

Anonymous said...

The first letter we ever got from our first camper tickled us enough that I framed it. It said

Dear Parents,
Our counsiler told us that we should only write good news in our letters to our parents.

Your son Meir

Anonymous said...

One year in camp we were sitting around after lunch to do the forced letter writing home. Most of us were perfectly happy in camp but just how many times can you write I am having a good time? One of the boys composed a really great sob story letter Complaining about camp in excruciating detail. We all copied the letter and we all sent it home.

The camp director was not amused to get calls from all of our parents asking just what kind of place he was running. For the rest of the trip we had to write home every day except Shabbos and the camp director had to see the letters before they were mailed. We all went back to I am having a good time.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother had the best way to get us to write good news letters from camp. She told us before we left that if we wrote her a little good news we would get good news in return--bad news would get nothing. Her idea of good news was to stick a dollar or two in a return envelope with a cute note card. You can bet she got letters from us raving about what a good time we were having.

The Five + of Us said...

I will never forget the letters I RECEIVED while at camp, from my grandmother, then about 70 years old, and my most prolific pen-pal, who had me in hysterics with her descriptions of swimming lessons (HERS, not mine!). She usually signed off with, "Remember to eat lots of organic lettuce."

At summer camp, Grandma? Reality check...