Once every summer I get a little nostalgic for my summer camp days. Who doesn’t love a week or two away filled with swimming and other activities? Then I remember the dark, the lack of air conditioning and the mosquitoes. I had, and still have bad reactions to mosquito bites. Calamine and a drug called attarax were my weapons. Unfortunately the medicine made me very drowsy, so after taking it the next twelve hours tended to be lived in a fog. I loved the s’mores but as a picky eater, I wasn’t too wild about the food offered in general. At least there was cereal, a food I wasn’t allowed to have at home.
So why would I be nostalgic for a place I spent foggy, itchy, and hungry? It isn’t so much the place as the feeling of camp I would love to experience again. So how to recapture the feeling? I have come up with some ideas on how to improve summer camp so not only will it be appealing to the adult me, I might be able to return from it well rested, fed and bite free.
First, the location would be on the edge of a beach, but the cabins would be air-conditioned with attractive indoor plumbing and electricity. A closet and an antique pine chest to actually unpack your clothes would be a must. The cabin would be furnished with quaint wrought iron beds with thick mattresses, real sheets and quilts. There would be comfy chairs for curling up with a good book placed in front of a stone fireplace.
The activities would still include swimming and boating, but lets add in massages and other spa treatments. Yoga might be nice. Instead of arts and crafts, we could have landscape or still life painting and smocking or some kind of needlework.
A menu would be offered for meals prepared by a chef. Dinner would include a wine list. Of course there would still be s’mores around the fire with sing-alongs, but it would be set up within a bug-free perimeter.
Are you with me yet? I do think my childhood (rough to me) camping experiences were vital to my development and I don’t think I would really want to change them to my adult version. After all children need to have such experiences to make connections to nature and learn to appreciate all they have back in their climate controlled homes with their parents. However as an adult I feel I get plenty of time with nature as I care for the yard and garden. I certainly appreciate the fact I have creature comforts that a good part of the world’s population does not. Camp for grown-up girls has a completely different purpose. It would be about rest, renewal and rejuvenation.
It just might be time to go dig out that water proof duffel bag . . .