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What REALLY Goes on at Sleepaway Camp

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Guest Blogger Campfire Girl: I spent the summers of my formative years (ages 12 to 18) wrapped in a sleeping bag in the dusty hills of Malibu, chasing boys and singing James Taylor songs. For me, the experience was awesome -- but sleepaway camp may not be for everyone.

Kids washing their clothes

Here's what you should know that isn't printed in the camp brochure:

When I first began going to camp in the late '80s, there was very little structure and even fewer rules. Much like a real-life version of "Wet Hot American Summer," we basically sat around braiding each other's hair, eating Popsicles and occasionally going swimming. As time went on, we were inundated with activities. We learned about social injustices, the ozone layer (hey, whatever happened to that ozone layer?) and how to shoot a target with a bow and arrow.

As teenaged campers, we also learned about sex. In between making lanyards and tie-dying T-shirts, we talked about "it" constantly, even though none of us had ever done "it".

But camp was not about any of those things. Cheesy as it sounds, camp was about making lifelong friendships. To this day, twenty-one years after my first summer, I have a close group of camp friends I am still in touch with, some of whom are living far away in foreign countries. And I haven't picked up a bottle of ozone-depleting Aqua Net since.

Here are some pros and cons about sending your kids to camp:

Pro: Your kids will learn to live independently from you!

Con: Your kids will spend weeks being dirty and sticky and sweaty. And guess what: They will probably love it!

Pro/Con: Your kids will probably have their first awkward makeout at camp. 

Pro: They will end up being friends with that person on Facebook fifteen years later.

Pro: Your city-slicker kids will learn about nature -- and hopefully, to love it.

Con: Camp food is notoriously awful.

Pro: Most camps don't allow Internet, video games or cell phones.


next: Gay Mom Reviews 'The Kids Are All Right'
7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Camp Counselor July 27, 2010, 5:41 AM

This is the WAY INNOCENT version of what really goes on at sleepaway camp!!! Lots of sex and lots of pot are the norm now. I was a counselor from 14-18 (ending 2 years ago). It’s pretty much like sophmore year of college for pre-teens.

Jilly July 27, 2010, 9:21 AM

Yeah, right…the teenagers back then had not done it, but have you been paying any attention to teens these days? Clearly not and I would bet that you don’t have any AND you better get a clue quickly! These kids will tell you they are seeing and having sex all over the place! This article could be dangerous advice for the parents who are uneducated about what is really happening with todays teens! Go check out Jessie Slaughter’s video…see what she has to say at the ripe old age of 11, not even a teen yet!! I was appalled at the language and graphic behavior. Miss Jess is sharing this info with others her age and behaving in highly inappropriate behaviors for a CHILD that age. I am sorry, but no way will I send my child to sleep over camp, not with trash like that running free! He can make plenty of friends at a camp that he attends daily!

David Doniger July 27, 2010, 9:44 AM

If you’d like to know what happened to the ozone layer … we saved it and it’s recovering! Tens of millions of kids world wide saved from skin cancer by getting rid of CFCs and ozone-depleting chemicals. Go here to learn more: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ddoniger/happy_birthday_to_the_ozone_la.html

David Doniger, Natural Resources Defense Council

Campfire Lad July 27, 2010, 9:36 PM

Con: Your kid will most likely be awkwardly fingered by an older boy at camp.

Con: Homosexual Camp Counselors Preying on little boys

Pro: You get the house to yourself

Con: Child scarred for life due to first experience with Partyvan/Groupsex

Wendi July 27, 2010, 11:37 PM

This is why I opted to send my kids to a camp that is through our church along with the youth pastors and leaders that they are with at church. If you worry about your kids, then make sure where you send them is up to your standards and don’t just send them to get them out of the house.

hypotheek August 8, 2010, 6:39 PM

Bereken zelf uw hypotheek. Hypotheek berekenen? Maak snel een indicatieve berekening van het maximale leenbedrag van uw hypotheek.

hypotheek August 8, 2010, 6:58 PM

Hoeveel kan ik lenen? (hypotheek). Wat worden mijn maandlasten? (hypotheek) … Hoeveel hypotheek heb ik nodig? Hoe hoog is de boete die ik nu zou moeten


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