We are celebrating Women’s History Month by sharing bits of our history. This week we are talking about our camping history or lack there of. Wickeds answer the following questions:
1. Did you ever go to a overnight or day camp when you were growing up? How old were you?
Jessie: I went to overnight camp three different times. I was late elementary and the first year of middle school, I think.
Barb: I went to Camp Betsey Cox in Vermont the summer between seventh and eighth grade.
Julie: Overnight camping with the Girl Scouts a couple of times. Day camps when I was young. And I went to a 2 week camp when I was a exchange student in Belgium.
Liz: I’m sure you’ll all be surprised but…never.
Edith/Maddie: Overnight camp the summer after fourth grade. Otherwise town summer recreational programs held at our school, and vacation Bible school a few times at the Congregational Church.
Sherry: I went on a couple of overnight camps — church and girl scouts. Vacation bible school and Brownies day camps. After my senior year in high school I went to a week long Young Life camp in Buena Vista, Colorado. It was so much fun.
2. What kind? Did it have a theme like sports or the arts?
Jessie: They were camps associated with the churches my family attended when I was growing up.
Barb: The camp website says, “Betsey Cox is a camp for girls and young women who intend to make a positive difference in a global world and to have fun doing so.” However for my parents the theme was, “Betsey Cox is a camp that is cheap.” (The secret was they didn’t require uniforms, eliminating that whole expense.) Also, my good friend Hilary Hinds went there. Her parents had selected it for the same reason.
Julie: The day camps were Christian. I think our neighbor ran them. They had a bit of everything. Arts. Swimming. Singing. The overnight camping was part of being a Girl Scout, even the Belgian camping experience.
Edith/Maddie: Overnight camp was Girl Scouts. I adored it. The first year my mom was working at the camp and I attended three sessions in a row. After that I went on my own. My older sisters were there for a year or two but I kept going even when they didn’t.
Sherry: Barb, that is so funny. This is what the website says about the Young Life camp: Frontier Ranch is Young Life’s original old Wild West camp dating back to the 1920s. We’re located south of Denver and west of Colorado Springs in Buena Vista, CO. At the base of Mount Princeton in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, our spectacular setting includes stunning views, rugged high cliffs, majestic pine trees, and a seasonal mountain stream. It was very outdoorsy.
3. What was the best thing? What was the worst?
Jessie: Archery was the best thing, hands down! I loved it! The worst thing was being an introvert in such an extroverted environment. I always wanted to have fun but it was just not my way of doing so.
Barb: The worst thing BY FAR was when you had the chore of putting the chickens to bed, a short straw I drew frequently. You would get three in the coup, and then you’d herd another group of them over, lift up the coop and the original three would run out. It was a truly endless task. The best thing, for an observer of life like me, on the cusp of teenagehood, was observing the other girls who came from all over and had all different kinds of families. The girls who came from Greenwich Village and rode the subway to fancy private schools uptown absolutely enthralled me. It was like watching The World of Henry Orient, only for real.
Julie: Oh Barb, putting the chickens to bed. I can just imagine you earnestly trying your best. I’m not a big camper, so my worst time (and the reason I don’t camp now) is getting food poisoning in Belgium when I was a foreign exchange student. This was real in the woods camping, so needless to say it was horrifying.
Liz: Chickens, Barb! LOL.
Edith/Maddie: Horseback riding! I LOVED learning to brush the horses, to put on their tack, and trail riding. I was such a peewee they always gave me the shortest horse. I also loved flag flipping, singing after meals, learning to canoe. All of it. Bliss. The worst part? “Bug juice” – that insipid red pseudo Kool aid they gave us to drink.
Sherry: Oh, Edith it’s so funny that you loved horseback riding because I hated it. At Young Life camp we had to get up early one morning to ride up the mountain for breakfast. My huge horse was named Widow Maker and it tried it’s best on the way home. It decided it want to go and I just clung bouncing around like mad. The best thing was all the wonderful people I met, swimming, singing around a camp fire. Oh, and the view at the breakfast was spectacular.
4. If you didn’t go do you wish you had? What kind of camp would it have been?
Julie: Glamping became a thing recently, and if I could have glamped I would have been all over it. Maybe camping on a sailboat? That would be a blast.
Barb: As adults we camped with our kids many times and then later with my husband’s entire extended family when cutthroat cooking competitions were the norm. We’re returning to our favorite campground this year, but because I’m no longer willing to sleep on the ground, we’ve rented a cottage.
Liz: I never had the desire to go camping or go to a summer camp. It was probably the introvert in me but I would have much rather stayed home with my pile of books. The one time I did sleep in a camper (not on the ground) was at the Salisbury Beach State Reservation when I was 19 or 20. Aside from the fact that I slept on a pull-out table and fell off a moped that weekend, the fact that it was the ocean made up for it!
Edith/Maddie: No more falling off mopeds, Liz! I grew up tent camping with my family every summer in the Sierras amid the stately Sequoia trees. Liz, we always brought books on our family camping trips (and probably to Girl Scout camp, too). We camped when my sons were young, but in the east you always have the chance of rain and it’s NOT fun camping in the rain. When I took my sons to Sequoia National Park a decade plus ago, I rented a cabin. No more sleeping on the ground for me.
Also – an aside from this Californian to my New England peeps: when I moved here and people talked about going to their “camp” in Maine, I thought, “Wow. They own an entire camp?” Later found out they actually meant “summer cottage.” Oh.
Sherry: I wanted to go to the camp from The Parent Trap.
Readers: Answer the questions!