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Top 10 Best (and Worst!) Camp Memories

Swimming, roasting marshmallows, and getting outdoors are among the many things this author loved about her childhood camp experience. But what about the things kids don't love about summer camp, like awkward dance nights and cleanup duty?


The Top 10 Things I Loved About Camp

  1. Going swimming every day (plus all the water slides that came with it)
  2. Field trips to amusement parks, water parks, a quarry, and NYC (any excuse to wander off with your friends unsupervised was more than welcome)
  3. All-you-can-eat kid-friendly food (French fries, sloppy joes, hot dogs, grilled cheese, basically anything you could melt and slap between two slices of bread)
  4. Camp musical theater (See: my groundbreaking role as a nun/chorus member in Black Bear Lake’s production of The Sound of Music)
  5. Marshmallow roasts by the fire (i.e., standing as far away from the fire as possible out of accidental burn paranoia)
  6. Cooking, gymnastics, and music classes (and when I say cooking, I mean eating the ingredients prior to mixing them together)
  7. Boating across the lake (i.e., the paddle boat equivalent to drag racing)
  8. Bonding with my counselors (all of whom seemed so worldly and mature at ages 15-17)
  9. Wandering through the woods (provided it wasn’t too hot)
  10. Making lasting friendships with kids who lived outside my school district (comparing notes re: lunch food, amounts of homework, how to deal with our crushes, et al.)


… and the Top 10 Things I Didn't Like About Camp

  1. Scary ghost stories (the younger the kid, the more impressionable her imagination)
  2. Camp food (I was raised on a diet of no-sugar cereals and vegetables -- my introduction to anything you could melt and slap between two slices of bread was culture shock)
  3. Girl Wars (a group of preteen girls stuck together in a bunk is bound to stir up some survival-of-the-fittest mayhem)
  4. Bathroom cleanup duty (let’s just say that I first learned how to plunge a toilet not at college, not at home, but at summer camp)
  5. Previewing what it would be like to live with roommates later in life -- times 10 (in this case it was listening to the Rent soundtrack all day, every day, for a month straight)
  6. Mandatory co-ed dance nights (I still cringe at the thought of being 14 years old and realizing that I had neglected to pack a single low-cut shirt)
  7. Color War (can’t we all just be friends?)
  8. Potentially humiliating walks to and from the bathhouse in nothing but a towel (and feeling like a dweeb for showering with my bathing suit on)
  9. Wandering through the woods (it was always too hot)
  10. Not discovering my identical twin (i.e., realizing that sleepaway camp was nothing like Lindsay Lohan’s experience in The Parent Trap)


Check out our camp resource round-up for all kinds of advice and info, a must-see if your child is heading off to camp this summer.


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