I watch and marvel at my two granddaughters. They both go away to camp each summer. As 6 and 9 year olds they started day camp at the Very Merry Theater Camp in Charlotte, Vermont. There they both discovered and developed their love of acting, dancing, and all the arts. Once little camp attendees they now both spend at least a week or two each summer serving as counselors at the camp.
Smokey Bear had nothing on us as we learned not only the way to build a proper setting for a campfire but also how to extinguish our campfire. No trees or animals would suffer as a result of a Girl Scout’s carelessness!
Older now, they continue to spend a good deal of their summer at camp. The oldest is a ballet dancer. She goes to intensives in the summer. They take her to places like Washington, DC and Torrington, Connecticut for 4-6 weeks. While there she seeks to perfect her ballet style. Learning the Russian Vaganova style of ballet dancing kindled in her a desire to learn Russian. In addition to her ballet dance movements and performances she spends her summer and school year learning the Russian language.
My youngest granddaughter spends her time at acting intensives at the SpotLight Theater in Burlington, Vermont. She benefits from teaching by Broadway actors, dancers, pianists, and voice specialists. At their final performance she has the opportunity to showcase what she has learned. Then it is off to Acting Manitou in Oakland,Maine where she learns things like song writing, acting, and other performance arts earning a role in either a musical or play depending on the results of her audition. This summer she performed a major role in the camp’s musical production Spring Awakening.
My only experience of camping until I became an adult was a weekend Girl Scout camp. What a thrill it was to be outdoors. We slept in tents, had campfires where we sang, told stories, and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.
Smokey Bear had nothing on us as we learned not only the way to build a proper setting for a campfire but also how to extinguish our campfire. No trees or animals would suffer as a result of a Girl Scout’s carelessness! We learned how to spot and stay away from poison ivy as well as taking part in scavenger hunts and other fun activities. The thing I remember most is to “police” or clean up my area when camping and, well, any time I went anywhere. We earned badges to display on our uniforms.
We learned the hard way that if it is raining you don’t touch the sides or roof of your canvas tent. The leaders warned us but their warnings made us all the more curious to see what would happen if we touched it. While the rain poured down we took turns poking the tent roof. Nothing happened. “Ha! We thought.”
But wait! After we curled up to go to sleep a steady drip, drip, drip started. Soon we were all screaming as only preteen girls can. Two of us ran to the leaders’ tent to tell them we were getting all wet. There were no extra tents. We had no choice but to go back to our dripping tent and try to sleep in the cold wet rain. The next day while other campers were playing games and making breakfast my tent mates and I struggled to hang up our soggy blankets and pajamas all the while hoping that the sun and the slight breeze would dry them and the tent.
I was only able to take part in Girl Scout camp that one weekend. From it I learned how to be responsible, follow directions, get along with others and the amazing beauty and quiet of nature.
I’m not sure today’s tent fabrics are as porous as those in use in the 50’s. I know this much. I will never again touch the inside of a tent when it is raining.
I am Philadelphia born and raised. I moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin when I married my husband, Richard. We have one daughter, one son-in-law, and two granddaughters. In addition to Milwaukee we have lived in Vermont and now New Hampshire.
I retired from my position as the palliative care and oncology chaplain at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center a little over two years ago.
Now I write, read, sew, knit, and rug hook-not necessarily in that order. With deep appreciation for all that libraries have meant in my life I represent my local library volunteeing one day a week at a local nursing home where I discover the residents' book preferences and bring them library books. Mostly, I visit and listen to their stories.