Our sons attended Camp Coniston in Grantham NH for many years, ever since they were little. They began as two week campers but soon graduated to the 4 week sessions. You can visit at the 2 week break and take them out for the night. We would bring the boat up to Lake Sunapee , grab a hotel, take them out to dinner, ice cream stands, a movie if it was raining. Then drop them back at the Camp, and we would race back to Camp Exeter. They also worked as counselors at Coniston, it’s a wonderful coed camp. You have to book it in the Fall. We would get just as excited as the kids as the date approached.
“I want everyone up at the crack tomorrow, ready to roll”
One year we appeared at the camp gates, with their trunks, the kids all jazzed about seeing old friends.
Doozie and I hoping the medical check in is quick.
“You got that form right?”
“Oh man we are going to be in and out quick this year” as we careened onto the dirt road, no clouds of dust ahead of us from a line of vans.
This feels funny.
There were no cool camp counselors with clipboards, gimp lanyards with whistles dangling , lounging and waving as we went through the gate.
The grass parking lot was empty.
We spilled out as a lone counselor approached.
“Take the pillows then, you gotta carry something”
“Can I help you folks?” asked the counselor
“Sure just give me their cabin assignments and I will move their stuff myself, no need to wait for the pickup truck”
“Doozie , you take the boys and beat feet to the medical check”
“Your early” whispers the counselor.
“Camp starts next weekend”
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.
It was a long ride home, no recriminations though, someone mumbled something about a calendar issue, no fact finding required, we stopped for lunch and a cone. The next week, since we were all packed, was easy and fun at Camp Exeter and dulled none of the anticipation of doing it again.
The next Sunday we climbed back in the van.
“You better watch your speed Babe, 89 can be crawling with troopers on a Sunday morning!”
I always inquire of young parents if they are considering overnight camp for the Summer, I’ll even ask kids.
“You going to Camp this Summer?”
There is a big payoff all the way around down the road.
I used to go all Summer, Camp Union, now long gone was in Greenfield NH, on Otter Lake. My Mother had twins behind me, so it was great break for her.
Brownies in my weekly laundry case from home.
Oh the joy.
A quality Summer camp is a wonderful experience and our boys still stay in touch with their bunk mates.
There were no “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh letters .
You could probably visit a few camps this Summer and make a choice for next Summer.
It’s a great experience for everyone.