Tag Archives: summer camp

Time to Cry Tuesday – Camp Trunks and Badger Tickets

For the past 13 years I have packed 22 camp trunks and duffles. When the kids were young, this was a process that started weeks in advance. I was old school and insisted upon sewing all the name tapes. Clothing and linens lined the living room with stacks of plastic boxes filled with quarters, phone cards (no cell service there), bug spray, bandaids… and every item that I could think of to keep them prepared. (still not sure what the thumbtacks were for)

The ritual of buying toiletries, packing them in plastic shoe boxes and having a ‘family mall day’ to buy new sneakers, socks and whatever else they needed, was part of the June frenzy that parenting spawns.

This year I have one kid heading back up to the Adirondacks for his 11th summer, his 4th as a counselor. The familiar comment, ‘the trucks go out on Monday’ that used to elicit a slight sense of panic deep in my soul was now answered with, ‘hey, maybe we should take them out of the attic’. And that comment was on Friday.

Family mall day yielded one item, a new pair of crocs. No new socks or sneakers were purchased; we have finally learned that 8 weeks at summer camp ruins them both and new ones should be bought at the end of the summer.

My boy has been a counselor of young kids for 3 years and can fold better than I can at this point. He has moved out of a dorm and into an apartment and packed to come home from Wisconsin on his own for the past 2 years. My role in this was more about tradition than real need. And the chance to share an activity that we both knew was probably going to be the last. Bittersweet, indeed.

This morning, that trunk and duffle – packed in under 2 hours – sat in the front hallway and the biggest excitement of the day was his waking at 8:15 to get online for the lottery for Badger season football tickets.

June is a whole different month than it was when they were little!

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Summer Camp Fortune

What is the shot my family would get this fortune in their Sunday chinese food order? We are the quintessential camp family. My son, as my daughter did before him, is going to attend his 11th summer at sleep away this year. They both beat my record of 9 years (same camp).

Gary had an idea to make xia ling ying t-shirts for the camp this summer.

The kids voted that down.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – I Am Jewish

I struggled with whether to post this here, and whether to use its title. Not for any other reason than I believe that there are certain topics that are personal. Ones that are sacred and are not about link love, blog traffic or public discussion. I have always held to the idea that religion is either something you are born into or you choose. And sometimes it is something that you consciously choose to abandon. I do not think it is something that should be pushed on others, used to breed hatred or a vehicle to define someone. Sadly all three are the root of some of the most horrifying chapters in history.

All that said, this public declaration of what it means to this young man to ‘be a Jew’ moved me to tears. Even more so as he is someone that my kids know from camp. I have written about this camp here before, many times, and its effect on our children and ourselves. The core of this place is its pride, the sense of belonging, of being part of a tribe.

See where I am going with this? In this crazy world of ever-changing social rules with its constant shifting of how we live our daily lives and relate to one another, there is something so important about that sense of belonging. It breeds the most important thing of all – a sense of self. It is easier to thrive with the continuity of something that you can count on; something that makes you feel ‘at home’.

I relate to the words of this young man. I am not a religious Jew, Judaism is simply part of the fabric of who I am. I do not live a ghettoized life – hey some of my best friends are Goyim (ok you had to be a Jew or around them to get that joke, and yes it is counter to everything I am saying here. Hey, I am a wiseass, what can I say). To a highly religious Jew I might not be considered Jewish. And yet it matters not.

This video is the embodiment of a young suburban Jewish man who has fallen victim to every stereotype and yet is still able to articulate his Jewishness. He is considered hip and current yet the content of his message would hold true even when my dad was his age.

He does not preach. He does not try to convert. He does not ask you to validate his Judaism or to argue its validity.

It is simply a declaration.

I am pretty sure this would translate to any culture or religion, and I am equally sure that the parodies of this video will be abundant in the weeks to come because… well, because that is what social media breeds. However, I do not think that any of that will dilute its message.

Enjoy, and feel free to comment.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – There’s no place like camp

This sign hangs on the owner’s house as you enter camp. It just about says it all. It is hard to explain this to someone who has never been fortunate enough to find the kind of connection my family has found to this place. I have written about it before, more than once, actually. But I always seem to find just one more way of articulating a place that has meant as much to me as any other in my life.

It’s not just the camp, although it is sort of the sacred ground of both my own childhood and that of my kids. But the surrounding area is so amazing. There is a clarity about being there. The way the air smells. How the water feels. The chill of the early morning and the hot sun of midday. The stars at night. There is nothing like the great expanse of a starry night in those mountains. It is a sight I will never tire of.

No cell service. Winding roads through beautiful mountains. Clear lakes. It is all so untouched. Or as untouched as it gets these days. Back when we were kids there were party lines and no new houses. Cell hot spots and new homes have sprung up in the closest town, but not a lot. For the most part the place looks very similar to the way it did 30 years ago. What a gift, to be able to visit the scene of your childhood with so little changed. There are no words to explain that elation.

And the best part. The part that I will never tire of being thankful for, is that my kids know the exact same feeling. Their bond may even be stronger. Not just because it is still so current, but because these times allow them to keep the link to all those people so effortlessly.

Life is long and camp is short, but if you are lucky, you can carry it with you till the day you check out.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Family and Friends

There is nothing like a picture perfect weather weekend to kick off the summer. But the weather was not the only thing that was perfect. We were fortunate enough to have been invited to 3 amazing BBQs filled with good friends with our family unit firmly intact for a few fleeting days. There are so few times that we get to spend as a family now, adding old friends and their kids to the mix is truly a gift.

BBQ number one was so very special because all the 21 year olds were there, many of whom have just returned with stories of their semesters abroad. Looking at all those faces I have known since nursery school, seeing their friendships still so strong and comfortable was such a joy. These are the people we have raised our children with. We have sat through graduations, in ER waiting rooms and everything in between with this crowd. This is our Community with a capital C.

BBQ number two was the campies. This crowd is filled with our friends and their kids who have all attended the same summer camp. The kids are mostly counselors – or retired counselors – with many stories of their own to add to the legacy of the ones that we tell. So much history. A culture like no other. We truly feel like we have come home when we are with this group.

BBQ number three was with more of the home crowd. A smaller group of 3 families that have been together from the very beginning. Their kids (and dogs) are like my own and we never take for granted how special their friendship is to us. Or how amazing their cooking is.

To all our hosts, thank you so much for the great times. And to my kids, thanks for humoring us and spending some time together. Something tells me you both are beginning to appreciate the time we are all together as much as we are.

And hell hasn’t even frozen over yet.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Gone Fishing(ish)

gone fishing

Ok, so it is unlikely that a Jewish girl from Long Island is seriously on a fishing trip. Jeez, you people are so literal. It is just an expression!

We are off and running for a few days of rest and relaxation in the mountains. And to see our kids at one of our favorite spots around.

So behave, play nicely and talk amongst yourselves until I find the urge to blog, or more likely till I find internet access. You all know I am an addict.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Camp Trunks

camp-trucking

Photo courtesy of Camp Trucking (some scary photoshop work there, wouldn’t you say?). Let’s hope this little plug helps to get our baggage moved with extra loving care.

Jana: Mom, seriously, you don’t need to nametape my underwear. (translation: hanky panky’s or the Gap knock-offs look equally silly with a nametape in them – keep your mitts off them)

Danny: Just let her do the nametaping. She can’t help herself this time of year. It is what she does. (this kid has always fully understood me)

Jana: Mom! We don’t send our stuff to the camp laundry as counselors. I will bring Danny’s into town and have them do it too. They charge like $8.00 for a week’s worth of laundry. (as an aside here I am thinking of driving my laundry up to the Adrondacks at that price)

Me: Danny, how do I nametape the reversible shorts?

Danny: MOM! Stop. You really have to let go of the nametaping thing. (ok, so maybe his patience is not as great as his understanding of me).

Me: Let’s go toiletry shopping. Remember how we always love to do this every year?

Danny: No, YOU love to do it. But you seem to forget that Jana and I did this without you last year because you had a deadline.

Me: All the more reason to do it all together this year.

I guess he is right. I am kind of pathetic around this time of year.

There are households in my zip code that start packing the trunks weeks before they go out. Us? They go out on Thursday.

We are thinking of doing it tomorrow night.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone

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Filed under danny, family, humor, Jana