I used to go to wildlife summer camp every summer. From age 6 to age 11. It was the low-light of my summer. I would probably still be going there if I hadn’t almost gotten killed while I was there.
It was a day camp with the same hours and the public schools. Basically the same thing as sending your kid to school in the summer, but this time they came home with bug bites and dirt all over them. (Not me, that’s gross.)
Each age group camp was named after a different animal. In “Hawk Camp” I made me mortal enemy. In “Otter Camp” I nearly died. You get the idea.
The things I hated most were the ‘nature journals.’ I have never written in a diary or a journal or on old tea bags. I have never understood why I would want to write down my private thoughts if they’re private. Why would you do that?
In the dreadful nature journals we were forced under threat of…something to draw pictures of animal tracks and leaves and mushrooms. Someday I still want to go back there and burn my ‘nature journal.’
There was this one counselor who, for the sake of privacy, we shall call Meredith. That may or may not be her real name. This was not a camp where they let students be counselors. Meredith was about 30 I think. She loved nature journals. Once we were walking in the woods and she decided we could split up and go back to the outdoor shelter. I went with my friends and we were back in five minutes. We waited for 2 hours for Meredith and the rest of the people to get back. They had all gotten lost. That was my best camp experience. 2 hours without nature journals or mud or “Look! It’s a rare and pointless mushroom!”
Then Meredith got back. I think Meredith contributed to my dislike of diaries. Meredith also loved birds. She loved looking at them and catching then in her special bird-net. I think Meredith contributed to my dislike of bird watching.
And I’m sure you want to hear the story of how they nearly killed me. It is very dramatic so you should probably out on some suspenseful music.
Well, we were canoeing. On a lake. We shall call that lake: Lake-where-I-almost-died-and-it-also-smells-like-dead-fish Lake.
The canoe trip was going fine…at first. Then we saw lightning. Where should you go when there is lightning? I know where you should not go: In a METAL CANOE in the middle of a LAKE. You should not go there in a lightning storm. There was a lot of lightning. And we were in a METAL CANOE in a big body of water.
For ten minutes we rowed really fast ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE DOCK. When we could have just rowed for twenty seconds to the side of the lake and gotten out. But we had to go all the way back to the dock. That was how they nearly killed me. And the five other people in the canoe. If I had been a bit smarter than I would have filed a lawsuit. I just thought of that this moment.
And that was the last time I went to wildlife camp. Yay!
I have more camp stories…they will come later.
[stop dramatic music.]