I was an only child raised by a hard working single mom. There wasn’t money for extras, but she managed to find a way to send me to summer camp when I was eight and nine years old. And I am glad she did.
I remember the list – an assortment of the necessities a camper would need plus the reminders to write one’s name on all items with permanent marker. Waving from the bus window as we headed off on this grand adventure and counsellors teaching us camp songs that had been passed down from generation to generation with a few updates here and there. The first night in the cabin with eight little girls hysterically crying that they were homesick and two weeks later those same eight girls hysterically crying that they were having to leave their forever camp friends. Learning how to make S’mores over the campfire, jumping off the pier into the ice cold lake, afternoon crafts that often involved macaroni, glitter and Aylmer’s white glue, putting on plays, green Jello, and a sense of fun and comraderie.
I have been invited back to camp ….. summer day camp to talk about being an author and why I love reading and to share my two books with the kids.
The day camps are for children who are recent immigrants to Canada. For most this will be a brand new experience. Many of them and their families have been impacted by war, famine, racism, trauma and unimaginable losses. The camps will give them an opportunity to practice their English, try out some new activities and sports, have fun, meet some new friends and perhaps even make S’mores.
Summer camps offer opportunities for children to play and learn and have positive role models. The campers often become strong leaders, problem solvers, team players, and are more empathetic and independent. Perhaps the camp experience should be mandatory for all of us so we can remember that we are all in this together and sometimes sharing S’mores and sitting around the campfire singing makes life a little nicer.
Peace & Happiness