Hi, my name is Sarah and I hate the word “Camp”. Although, I’m sure Jendi is having a wonderful time as a Camp counselor this week, I have to say that I do not envy her at all. Not one teeny bit. You’ll find out why in a minute, but first I just want to say what an honor it is to guest post for Jendi. I’ve enjoyed reading her blog for quite a while now and she has a way of making me laugh that keeps me coming back. That and she always leaves me the best comments over on my blog: BlueCastle. I just know that one day I will convince her to ModPodge or spray paint something.
Because she is unable to connect to the Internet this week only readers who have left comments previously will be able to see their comments. All others will be held in moderation until Jendi is back.
When I hear someone talking about “going to Camp”, I think of two things – Haley Mills (as in The Parent Trap), and me as a girl, sobbing myself to sleep on a top bunk.
My mother was ruthless. She made me go to church youth camp every year, despite my tear-filled pleas. Church camp varied from other camps in that there was sure to be lots of Aqua Net, HotSticks and late night visits to the snack shack after church each evening. There was also lots of Deet. Tons of it. Because all those late night church services made for one big, all-you-can-eat buffet for the local mosquito population.
When I was growing up, my dad was my pastor. I (and later my sister) was the entire youth group. That meant that when each church in our district sent their youth group off to camp, everyone else arrived in vans or even buses. But not me – I came by car. Alone. Or, I hitched a ride with another youth group. And while everyone else in my cabin knew each other, I was the odd girl out, trying to get a handle on how to fit in and figuring out how to use those crazy HotSticks without burning myself. But I was never quite able to fit in with the rest of the girls. Maybe because I was too busy hiding out in the bathroom, waiting until they all had taken their showers so I could use the community shower in solitude. I used to lie awake at night plotting out exactly how I would accomplish that.
The church services at night were the only time I actually enjoyed camp. Growing up Pentecostal, I knew how to appreciate good music and preaching. But, the daytime activities had me in knots. I wanted to be in the “in” group, but couldn’t get in to save my life. The “in” group always revolved around one really popular girl, you know the one? Hair perfectly styled, cute as a button, with a flock of boys following her every move. If you paid attention, you’d see me, just on the very edge of the “in” group, but never really a part of it. I just didn’t have what it took.
Still, every year a small part of me looked forward to going to camp, because I was sure this would be the year I finally met my one, true love. Several times, I thought I had, too, but somehow he always mistook the popular girl for me and off he went, trotting behind her like a little puppy. Except for one time.
It was late, after church, before lights-out when he walked up behind me, tapped me on the shoulder and motioned me to follow him. He stopped a few paces ahead of me and I turned and……….ran away.
I’ve often wondered what would’ve happened if I hadn’t been such a chicken. And I’ve giggled a little over how stupid I must’ve looked, and then felt bad for the boy. I sure hope his ego didn’t suffer too much. But, I never had a chance to see him again as it was the last night of the last camp I ever attended.
My mom always said that going to camp would make me a better person, help me be strong and make me stand on my own two feet. I’m still not sure if that was really what happened to me. All I remember is the homesickness and the pit of anxiety in my stomach that never went away until I was safely in the car, with my parents driving me home.
To this day, my hands still get a little clammy just thinking about “going to Camp”. Thank God those days are over.