Posts Tagged ‘summer camp campuses’

That Place at Camp

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

Every camper, every staff member has one: that special place at camp where they go to unwind. The other day, I was reminded of my camp place. There is a hill at the camp where I work. The camp has cookouts there every week, but I happen to work in the adjoining facility and have the opportunity to enjoy the view several times every day. It looks out onto an adjacent hill. Some farms dot the horizon. It’s incredibly green in the summer, and I often take in the view thinking that it could be the subject of one of those shaker paintings that showcase the simple beauty of a pre-urban America. It reminds me of camp, not so much the physical place but the idea of it. I imagine that everything there looked exactly the same 100 years ago as it does today and 100 years from now will still be unspoiled. I’ve tried to take photos of the view several times, smuggled my iPhone in on the last day of camp after the campers have left or just before they arrive at the beginning of camp. But none of the pictures have ever done it justice. I’ve just ended up deleting them. The iPhone isn’t all powerful after all.

Camp is an escape of sorts. It’s that place where, for several weeks each summer, you can live in a bubble. And everyone has a place at their camp where they go during the summer to reflect. The place becomes such a source of serenity for you that you find yourself thinking of it during the off season when you just need an escape.  Whether it’s a boating dock, a lakeside beach, path in the woods, or even a bunk, it’s the first visual image that pops into your head when you think of camp. In a way, that place embodies camp for you. I remember the hill and daily breaks between activity periods thinking of everything and nothing all at the same time. The camp’s playhouse is right beside it, and I’ve spent hours reflecting to the distant hum of musical numbers being rehearsed. I’ve even caught myself singing along a few times.

Campers like to document their favorite spot on camp. I teach creative writing at the camp where I work and the favorite spot on camp is often the topic of essays and poems. It’s definitely a universal notion. When you ask campers about their favorite part of camp, they’ll inevitably name a place. That place at camp is a point for everyone who spends their summers there where ideal meets reality and the two co-exist. It’s a magical place that one imagines could only be real in a place like Hogwarts. But, at camp, you’re reminded that there can be such a place in a real world. Harry Potter & co don’t get to have all of the fun…