Summer Camp Days

| July 21, 2010 | Comments (1)

boys at campI am a camp director by day.  While some moms can relax at the beach and read a novel under the umbrella when school is out, when summertime comes I can have up to 300 kids a day at the beach and I go on High Alert each day when I punch in.  Every summer I can pretty much count on a head lice outbreak, at least one dietary disturbances that will require biohazard clean up supplies, and lots of cell phone calls that open with a member of my staff telling me We Have a Little Incident.  Just a normal day.  But I remain a fervent believer in camp.

In Camp.

Our job is to create lasting summer memories.  Like stage directors we create experiences and group interactions that stay with our campers for years.  So in a way, this job is not so different my previous career as a performance artist creating staged events for an audience.

I am lucky with Camp. Unlike when I was creating innovative works of time art in an art gallery, with Camp, I have a whole history of Camp traditions to draw upon–I like to invent a new thing or two, but there is the comfort of returning to my own childhood and drawing forth the things I loved and passing it on to another generation. I have so much fun with my staff each year pulling out their memories of games and songs, and recreating them in a great oral history, a continuum of Camp.  Together, collaboratively we create the culture that continues through the years–tee shirt signing day, Parents night with Oreos, potlucks, water war day, beach day, theme days, costume days, bandages and mosquito bites.  We create a world that combines equal parts new and novel with predictable and timeless.

Camp provides so many beautiful teachable moments, as well as the long hot spaces for friendships to be born and to grow.  When you drop your precious children off at Camp, you send them on an adventure that is an endearing part of summer, whether it is a sleepaway camp, a day camp, or one of the specialty camps popping up like dandelions in every corner of the city.  I have even heard of parents banding together to create their own “camps” that are a summertime riff on the play group idea, complete with lanyards and field trips.  Don’t let the summer pass you by without a dose of Camp.


Category: Chicago

About Angela: Angela is a poet, performer, artist and mom who writes about and teaches performing arts and the art of living. She has a day job for a big bureacracy which feels like a strange way for a former avant garde performance artist to put bread on the table, but it keeps her mind very flexible. She lives in Mildred the Magic House, has a cabin in the woods, and is married to photographer Matt Dinerstein. View author profile.

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  1. Chefdruck says:

    I too have amazing Camp memories, both at day camp and sleepaway camp. I learned about macrame, fireflies, and one memorable summer, French kissing. Summer is such a wonderful time for kids to grow and have fun.

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