Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Camp Part Two-It's Never Too Late

So I went to camp with my kid last weekend.  

Click here to read about how amazing it was to connect with my kid, because this is not that post.

As I packed for camp, I worried about the whole "unplugged" aspect of it all--24 hours without my iphone?  And could I bring my sound machine, because sleep doesn't happen without that.  I worried that the camp would be too rustic and unheated.  And don't get me started on my feelings about nature.  (Click here for some back story.)

But my pal, Steph, reassured me that I would love camp.  And I trusted her, sort of, and set off for an adventure. On the long car ride there (really it was only 30 minutes), I wondered if my anxiety about camp involved more than just my fear of unplugging.  Guess what? There's always more to the story.

I went to fifth grade camp with my elementary school a million years ago and I remember it being a pleasant experience.  But I never went to summer camp.  It looked cool.  My cousin went to camp and came back with all these fun songs and great memories.  

Summer campers and camp counselors seemed very wholesome and wonderful to me, very grounded.  Something I didn't think I was.  My parents got divorced when I was 12 and I promptly quit the band, dance classes, the softball team and getting good grades.  All of a sudden I became a wannabe burnout.  My role models were all those trashy video vixens from the mid-eighties.    

I smoked cigarettes in the woods next to my middle school, stole my parents car, threw parties at my house,  drank a lot of alcohol and did other things that even I don't feel comfortable sharing here.  All BEFORE high school.  Tough, too cool for school, trying to be way too grown up before I even got braces.

By the time I was 14 I felt guilty for so many of the things I had done and my bad behavior, I felt like there was no turning back.  So yeah it's safe to say I sure as hell wasn't a very grounded kid, but wholesome and wonderful I think I still could've been.

But here's my lesson to all you wholesome, grounded, wonderful wannabes--it's never too late.

Sure at camp last weekend I felt a little bit like the Ally Sheedy character in The Breakfast Club...misunderstood, dark and twisty, weird, but sweet and creative if you gave her a chance.  Middle school/high school shit is hard to shake out of you sometimes.

But after being at the camp for just a little while, things started to get really good.  It was fun.  We helped the kids unpack and I got a room where I could plug in my sound machine (yay!). The campfire was amazing.  The kids told jokes and sang songs.  Several of the chaperones had to go help push a car up a hill (it was a very snowy night) and my pal Steph and I ended up leading some of the songs.  Without a real camping background, I was at a bit of a I led the kids in a fantastic version of "Celebration."  When in doubt, Kool and the Gang is always a safe bet.  Not very church camp, but hey remember where I'm coming from, at least I wasn't singing Motley Crue's "Shout at the Devil."

It just kept getting better--there was gym time with fun games, ghost stories, nature walks, cafeterias, crafts, sharing and more.
This is my pipe cleaner craft.  We had to make something out of seven pipe cleaners that described us: mine was a big heart, that is a bit dark and twisty inside, but full of love for my four babies.  I don't know if the kids got it when I shared it with the group. (Remember I never claimed to be crafty....this is not a craft blog, obviously.)

After settling the kids in their bunks, the chaperones met in the main room to hang out and talk.  
Look at these wholesome and wonderful snacks, albeit not very healthy.

We stayed up until 3 a.m. talking about all sorts of silly things and important things.  It really was a little like The Breakfast Club because we were all very different people coming together and having this bonding experience.

It was just all good.   My inner 14 year-old bad ass inner child finally felt worthy.  Just like how I discovered running in my 30s and felt like an athlete for the first time, it's never too late. It's never too late. And just so you know, I didn't leave the bad ass all the way behind...I tweeted from my bunk bed and talked during the silent nature walks.  Yup, there's still a rebellious part of me too.

We (I mean me and Steph) re-enacted the dance scene from The Breakfast Club--yup we did all the parts.  We are totally fun campers for real.

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