Camp Stories: Summers to Remember; Summers to Forget


The summer going into Grade 6, I attended Jewish overnight camp for the first time. I was so excited. Especially because it’d also be the first time I spent more than one night away from my parents. When I arrived, I couldn’t believe how much I felt like an adult. I could do whatever activities I wanted; go to bed whenever I wanted (well, at least past my curfew); and eat whatever I wanted! I could not believe the array of delicious food offered, including hot dogs, pasta, chicken nuggets, and fries. I was in heaven. Every day I ate cereal for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch, and pasta for dinner. I didn’t have my parents there telling me to eat vegetables. After two days, I knew it was going to be the best summer of my life. 

However, a few days later, when my counsellors were chatting away and about to light Shabbat candles, my stomach made a weird noise. What was that? I wondered. It was a cramp. A severe cramp. Sweat started to build on my upper lip. 

“Are you okay?” my friend asked me.

I quickly nodded and she went back to whispering silly nothings in my ear. Another cramp. Oh shoot, I’m going to shit in my pants. 

“I have to go to the bathroom!” I blurted out. Though my friend looked confused, she shrugged and said she’d come with me. I couldn’t protest too much because my feet were already out from under me, running toward the nearest washroom. 

“Stop running so fast,” she yelled, while trying to catch up. 

I didn’t care. I raced into the nearest stall and the floodgates opened. I realized I hadn’t taken a shit in almost a week. I heard my friend come in for a second, but when she heard and smelled the disaster coming out of me, she said she’d go back to the Shabbat circle. After that, I realized maybe a vegetable or two wouldn’t hurt. 



The ping pong tables behind Beit Tina (the programming building at camp) will always hold a special place in my heart. This partially secluded spot was where I had my first kiss. An exhilarating and in hindsight slightly harrowing experience.

I was 13 years old and felt the pressure to keep up with the cool, older campers. My make out partner, Maura, was by far my favourite of the girls in my cohort. She was sweet, cool, and most importantly, willing to take on the title of  “girlfriend.” Maura and I had been going steady for a few weeks, when one night, while we were staring up at the stars and chatting behind Beit Tina, counsellors boomed, “You have 10 minutes until lights out.”  Suddenly our conversation came to a lull. We only had two weeks left of camp so I knew now was the time to make the big move, and I think Maura knew it too. With gusto and the kind of tongue work that could have you think I was a member of the band KISS, we engaged in nine minutes of awkward make out maneuvers until the counsellors finally called, “Campers one more minute!” releasing us from our slobbery affair. 

I attempted to continue my relationship when we returned to the real world but I became a victim of what would later be known as “ghosting.” I always wondered, maybe I should have used less tongue. 



Growing up I was a horse girl. The camp I attended had a large barn and I spent all of my time there. One day, there was a horse that had a baby. I was so elated. The morning after the foal arrived, I quickly dressed in my riding gear before the bunk left for breakfast. As we were walking, I left my fellow campers because I wanted to stop at the barn first. I didn’t give the decision a second thought because it was close by. 

The mom and foal were so cute that I got caught up in the excitement and missed breakfast . . . and lunch. As the day was winding down I headed to the food hall for dinner with a pep in my step. However, when I arrived, my counsellor yelled at me in front of the whole camp for missing meals and not checking in. Everyone was staring. Frustrated and embarrassed, I argued that I had been in the barn all day. I reminded her that if she was truly concerned, she could have searched or announced my name on the loudspeaker. My comment did not land well and my counsellor got very angry. I was given an early bedtime for a week. It seemed she couldn’t handle a 10-year-old having more common sense than she did.



I was a day camp stan who loved to ham it up. I looked forward to sneaking off to Mac’s Milk for slushies, eating too many tea biscuits during snack time, and playing Shabbat themed games. But nothing thrilled me more than when we went on trips to amusement parks and sing-shouted, as we rushed forwards then backwards to infinite heights on roller coasters, “We want Moshiach now!” That tune was the summer anthem for years on end and though I never thought about wanting Moshiach with the same passion as wanting a fella with nice hands, perhaps I should have. Because one morning, after spinning on a tire swing and believing I was going to be the one to vomit, some random girl came out of nowhere and vomited on me. Perhaps if I really had wanted Moshiach rather than want to sing the song, he would have shown up and offered to help. Because that’s what we really need Moshiach for: cleaning vomit off children.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Can’t get enough? Subscribe!