Last week, I walked to the grocery store in shorts and a swimsuit, because that’s what I came home from work wearing. I was sunburned and sporting a whistle on a lanyard with some rhyming song that ended in “kick your boyfriend out of town” stuck in my head. As a day camp counselor, I spent my days getting paid to eat ice cream, do science experiments, and get motion-sick on long bus rides, right alongside the kids.
Working at day camp (at an age when most of my peers have “grown up,” no less) was pretty awesome. In many of my previous summers with kids, most of my time was spent dragging them up mountains or across lakes on camping trips. Those were truly spectacular times, and I hope when they are older, these kids will be able to have those sorts of adventures.
Going into my summer of day camp counseling, I had no idea what it would be like. Just as I’d discovered that like going on wilderness trips without kids is a whole different ballgame, I wondered would kids without the wilderness be a whole different flavor of fun?
Why, yes, of course it would. But it was no less exhausting or rewarding. I found that not only are wilderness trips a ton of fun with kids, so are trips to the FIRE DEPARTMENT. That’s right, no need to paddle and camp in the Canadian wilderness for a good time, just walk around the block to the fire dept. Open up some trucks, sit inside and you’re having fun! It was also amazing and inspiring to bring a group of kids to the State House and see them actually interested in learning about history.
It was great to watch these kids have fun, learn new things, and hopefully grew just a tiny bit stronger. Even if that was from getting blisters from the monkey bars (so many bandaids!!) or walking two miles on the sidewalk to the pool and back. No, we weren’t teaching them to portage a canoe or paddle in headwinds, but when you’ve got 4 year olds in the mix, every walk becomes a hike. And a great opportunity to hear whatever it is that’s on their mind. (And sometimes a great chance to carry them. Especially at cross-walks where tired kids might not walk fast enough to make it before the light changes!)
Bus rides are also a great way to hear what’s up in kids’ worlds. And learn a clapping song or two about “Lemonade….kick your boyfriend out of town…”
The daily bus rides of the summer made me wish that VT had billboards to make playing the A-Z sign game more fun and left me wondering just what is the pop hit song of the summer?
In previous years, driving a 15 passenger van headed for the trailhead, I accepted requests for pop radio and now associate “Cups” with Camp Wabasso (2013), “Call me Maybe” with Tin Mountain (2012) and “Hey there Delilah” with Tanglewood (2007).
I will remember Camp REACH and summer 2014 as the summer of “Lemonade/Kick Your Boyfriend out of Town.” And it’s not Anny Kendrick, Carly Rae Jespen, or the Plain White T’s I’ll be hearing in my head when I remember it.
It’ll be the kids.