It’s hard to believe, but summer is about to wind down. It’s almost the first of August – many young people are beginning sports practices, families are rushing to squeeze in “just one more” vacation before school begins, and people are beginning to plan for fall and the upcoming year. I’m sitting here at my desk, enjoying a quiet evening (which doesn’t happen very often at Shrine Mont in the summer), and I stumbled across a random blog entry all about (you guessed it) summer camp! It started me thinking about all the ways that the “summer camp experience” is universal : no matter where you go, just the simple act of going to summer camp (or sending your child to summer camp) adds your name to an ever-growing list of folks who have “found themselves” while at camp.
So, this post goes out to all of the people – or families of people – who have found themselves at a Shrine Mont camp. As we begin to close down the summer, I offer a list of “summer camp” related resources and websites. Some are silly, others are meaningful – and one is just plain “out there:” but I hope you enjoy!
Thoughts on Camp:
Camp is Important: I could go on (and on, and on) about this, but I believe this parent lists several of the strongest arguments to send children to camp. (This is also the blog that I stumbled across that inspired this post.) It can be a scary thing to do for the first time – both for parent as well as for child, but an experience at summer camp can create connections with other people, with the natural world, and gives young people a chance to get away from our technology-obsessed culture – even if only for a few days. Click here to read why one parent chose to send her children to camp.
Camp is about Writing Letters: A big part of the camp experience, for better or worse. Many camps, like Shrine Mont, do not allow campers to call home or use the internet while they are at camp, which means people have to return to the ancient art of letter writing to keep in touch with their loved ones back home.
- Click here to check out a blog that’s devoted to posting children’s (and some parent’s) letters from camp.
- Or, maybe you’re more interested in the letters that get sent TO camp. If so, check out this link to find hints and tips for parents who get writer’s block when it comes time to write to their children while they are at camp.
- And if you REALLY love to read other people’s letters, you can buy a book that is FILLED with letters that kids wrote to their parents from summer camp.
Camp is an Industry: In case you don’t believe me, check out this website where you can pay money to let someone else put together a special care package for your child while s/he’s at camp. I had no idea stuff like this existed.
Camp is Universal: It’s hard to explain what “camp” is all about to someone who has never been. In 1998, the Public Radio show “This American Life” tried to do just that – and the result is a hilarious, poignant, and wonderful episode that you can stream and listen to for free. It’s about an hour long, but it is well worth the time. Check it out here
Final Thought: I, obviously, think that the summer camp options at Shrine Mont are equal to none – that spending a week or two at one of our camps can profoundly transform one’s relationship with self, other, and God. However, there are things that many overnight camps have in common (if they are healthy and well-run organizations). Plus, this just seemed like a fun list of things to check out!