I went to camp several times when I was a kid, at least four that I can recall off the top of my head. I believe the longest I was away was a week.
A few summers ago, I wrote an article similar to Everything I Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten, only replace ‘kindergarten’ with ‘summer camp.’ It was a fun article to write, but I was amazed at the number of adults I spoke with who never experienced summer camp.
I firmly believe all kids should go to camp, even if it’s just a weekend-only deal. Not everyone will love it (my mom has received her fair share of ‘I hate it here, let me come home’ letters), but it is an experience every child needs to have. It’s right up there with riding a bike, lemonade stands and slumber parties.
Both of my kids went to sleep away camp last year. They had a good time. Neither wanted to return to that camp this year, though, which is fine. I just wanted them to have the experience once. However, because my daughter sold 500 boxes of Girl Scout cookies and we had tons of ‘Cookie Credit’ that could be used for camp, I talked her into it. It helped that one of the girls in her troop wanted to go, too.
I dropped her off yesterday and she was teary during our good-bye. That was hard. But, thanks to technology, the camp has a blog and posts photos regularly. I’ve seen several of her smiling face, so I know she’s having fun.
I have to admit, I was pretty sad until I saw those photos. It was the same things last year — I wanted my kids to go to camp, but I hated not having them around. You worry. Are they having fun? Are the other kids nice? Are the counselors? Are they eating? Did they remember to brush their teeth? Are they wearing clean socks?
I spent the summer before my junior year in college as a camp counselor. I can’t speak for all counselors, but I can tell you that I worked my butt off, for roughly 24-cents an hour, to make sure the answer to the above questions was ‘Yes.’ It’s not an easy job. In fact, it was one of the worse jobs I ever had. But it gave me memories and I probably remember them more fondly than they really were.
With that, here’s the recipe for soda bread, which was what my camp served for breakfast every Sunday morning. Kids who attended that camp for years, or counselors who lasted more than one summer, would spend the months not at camp dreaming about this bread. The pay was bad, the hours lousy and the directors did make the counselors go in a lake during a tornado to secure the sailboats, but it was good bread.
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 1/8 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
1 cup lard
Mix all ingredients together.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Pour into a 8 1/2 X 11 cake pan. Refrigerate overnight. (Very important!)
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.