The busses came rolling in around 11:30 this morning. Kids ranging in age from 6 to 15 came barreling out one by one to a singing, cheering, clapping group of high energy staff members holding up painted signs signifying cabin assignments.
The returning campers were “home”–hugging the staff they remembered from last summer and excited for all of the new memories they would soon be making this summer. The new campers were torn–anxious about being away from home, but excited about what the summer would bring, all the while hoping that whatever mommy forced them to eat for breakfast wouldn’t make an unwelcome reappearance as they walked with their cabin mates to their new home. Either way, as soon as their feet hit the ground coming off those buses, the moment was marked.
It’s opening day at Camp Tanuga, and if there was a list of people who are very excited about this season, I’d be somewhere at the top.
The luggage was shipped a week ago so the counselors had time to unpack all the bags and make all the beds. Each cabin does their own thing to get the kids acclimated to camp and to one another. I saw one cabin of girls sitting in a circle introducing themselves and I saw another group sprawled out all over their cabin hanging posters of Justin Bieber and discussing the sparkle nail polish they brought to camp (nail polish I will be borrowing).
I didn’t make it to the boys’ side for the intro part of the day but I imagine they all introduced themselves to each other and then punched each other in the arm or something. I have no idea. I was too busy hassling one of the oldest boys for the 2010 Eminem/Jay Z concert shirt he was wearing.
On to the Mess Hall for lunch. Today’s menu: Make-Your-Own-Tacos, Salad bar, Vegetarian Mexican Soup, Churros and of course, Bug Juice. I‘m not exactly sure what Vegetarian Mexican Soup is, but we have a chef on staff who is really good and so was the soup. I witnessed some of the youngest boys stuffing their faces with four to five tacos. Clearly they had no trouble making themselves right at home. One kid boasted that he ate 13 churros–seems a little excessive, but impressive all the same.
It took about one minute after the lunch announcements to end before the older campers got up and started chanting, cheering, stomping and pounding. The Mess Hall got really loud really fast.
Welcome to Camp.
Normally, there is a period of time called Rest Hour after lunch, but who has time for that today? It’s Opening Day! Time for Swim Test Rotation! The campers have to pass a test that decides what water activities they will be permitted to do. I usually stop by with my pooch, Floyd Coden, to walk the docks, cheer for the campers and check out all the cute bathing suits.
After that, it‘s back to the Mess Hall for Instructional Sign Up. The campers get to choose from all sorts of activities: Horseback Riding, Waterskiing, Tubing, Trapeze, Canoeing, High Ropes Course, Rock Climbing Wall, Tennis, Drama, Dance, Arts and Crafts, etc). Basically, it’s Club Med for kids, but we don’t have a bubble machine or people walking around in banana-hammock bathing suits.
While walking around looking for action, I found my husband, Cody, at the Camp Store going over Store Orientation with the campers. He talked to them about mail, packages, restrictions on their store accounts, that kind of thing. I like to do bunny ears behind Cody’s head while he is doing this. He explains to the campers that they can get an unlimited amount of mail, one package a week, and his or her own Store account. In other words, if a camper comes into the Store looking to be a big shot “I’ll take a round of those Little Hug drinks in all flavors for my cabin. It’s on me, just put it on my store account!” Yeah…that’s not happening, but I’m sure your parents would be pleased with how generous you attempted to be with their money.
The Store is one of my favorite places at camp. If I have an extra few minutes during my day, I like to hang out in the Store and catch up on gossip. I also like to read magazines that might be lying around and browse through all the confiscated candy. We ask that candy or treats not be sent up to camp. It usually works out that several of the parents completely ignore that rule, but that’s fine. I just eat it.
At some point in the day, the campers are sent to The Infirmary to go over meds and get a lice check. I am not present for this part of the day because I don’t find it to be all that entertaining. As far as I know, none of the kids who have showed up today have lice but since I haven’t been down to the Infirmary, I don‘t know for sure. If you happen to be a parent of a current camper and you sent your kid here with lice, you better cancel your plans for tonight because they just changed. He might be nice, but no thanks on the lice. Come get him.
What is a camp without Milk and Cookies to break up the day? Not a very good one. We had M&M cookies today and they were the big, chewy kind. Apples are always offered at Milk and Cookies but I don’t imagine they do too well up against the cookies.
After an outdoor dinner of hamburgers, hotdogs, salad bar and a wide variety of chips, all campers and counselors made a long, silent walk to one of our many camp sights. The first night is always slotted as an introduction to Camp history, songs and awards. Top secret stuff. After the intro comes the Stick Fire Skits and S’mores. Each cabin and counselor introduces themselves in skit form to everyone else at camp and then it’s time for S’mores (because the kids haven’t had enough to eat yet today).
After Taps is played, it’s about that time. Time for bed. It’s late and it’s been a long day. There are inevitably some homesick kids during this time–that is if they’re not too tired to be homesick. I have found that homesickness usually subsides after the first few days of camp; kids just need some time to get into the groove. I have also found that it is totally normal and not at all unusual for a kid to be homesick. Some kids are more homesick than others, but no matter the degree, homesickness isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can take comfort in knowing that if your kid is homesick, you don’t completely suck as a parent. You must be doing something right if your kid misses you that much.
And you definitely did something right by sending your kid to camp because even if the first few nights are a little rough, he’ll get over it and then he can add it to his list of all the other things he attempted, and accomplished, at camp.
The busses are rolling in!
Thanks for being here!
Facebook : DimSumandDoughnuts
Love your new site! Camp Tanuga RULES!!!!!
Say hi to Sophie and Annie for us! Have fun!!!!
Hi!! They don’t come until second session but I can’t wait until they get here! XOXOXO
What if I said the front boys intros *might* involve sparkly nail polish, too?
Loved this. Miss this.
I’m sure if I looked hard enough in the boys’ cabins, I’d find some. I’d rather you come here instead though!! Glad you liked it. I would have felt bad if I disappointed you (of all people). You ARE Camp Tanuga.
I want to be a kid again and go to camp.
Yes and like Lily says- the new site is AMAZING!
Love the picture of you and Lovey!
Love the blog!! Love Camp and can’t believe that my baby girl heading there in 22 days! Get ready for a new bestie in the westie!! Oh yes, and you better have some kleenex and lots of love for my Punky Brewster!
So happy you’re still a fan. Thank you! Can’t wait to get her here. Maybe she’ll get on the pink motorcycle for a “guest ride down memory lane.” Bring on Punky (she and Sweet Pea are going to get along so well. Punky 1 and 2. Can’t wait!)
AWESOME!!! you and Tanuga really know how to make summer special!!! My two girls love it and Jack….he will be there next year …
Can’t wait to get Jack here!! Tell him that I’ll be waiting. Thanks for reading. I appreciate it so much.
What do we do about the dads who keep crying (except when they leave for Vegas tomorrow for 5 days and won’t give it a second thougt!)
You give him 5.00 for Vegas and tell him to put it all on red for me!
Love this! Please don’t stop writing. Pretty confident both my girls are NOT homesick, although mommy is a little “childsick.”
Hi Lisa! I tried to click on your name to get your last name but it won’t work for me. Who are your girls? I’ll check on them. I don’t blame you for being childsick. My kids just left the cabin and I’m going to find them because I miss them already. Thank you for coming by to read. I hope you find some stuff you like and that you come back!
Sue Barenholtz says
Hi Robyn – I enjoyed meeting you for the one or two minutes last weekend – but I had no idea you were soooo talented. I LOVE your blog and this post brought me right back to 1970 when I was a first time camper – almost everything you said was the same – except you don’t have Francis as the cook (thank god for you) and it seems the food has much improved – tacos? salad bar? Can we have a baby boomer cabin so I can come back? Is the bug juice really still the same horrible crap? Thanks for the memories – hope to get up there again next year. My love to Cody and Sid.
Hi Sue! You made me laugh HARD about Francis. We are lucky to have Jeff. Very lucky. He is so great and when I love something, he always hides it in one of the walk-ins for me. I an so happy you liked this piece and I hope you see some other stuff on the blog that you like. Thank you for coming over here and giving me a chance. XOXOXO R
Punky 1 and Punky 2, LOVE IT! And yep she will take a spin on her pink ride fo shizzle….hope sweet pea has bedazzled it up! And hello……screw the sparkly nail polish……we have hundreds of feathers, including all neon colors, which Drez already bought to install on all unsuspecting campers! Just wait! Xoxoxo
Tell her to get ready for a spa day with me and my girls!!!
Anessa Kramer says
Thanks so much for this colorful description of Day 1! My son, Sam, is a first-year and so we cherished every word of the blog and hearing what he is up to. I just hope that he wasn’t the one who ate 13 churros, because I certainly wouldn’t put it past him. I’m fairly confident that he is the one who ate 4 or 5 tacos. 🙂 Enjoy!
Is Sam your son? I belive he was on my list for 4-5 tacos, but he wasn’t the one who ate 13 churros. It was one of the boys in his cabin though. Sam is doing great. We are so happy to have him here and I’m so grateful that you came by the blog and gave me a chance. Thank you, thank you!!!
robyn! this is amazing! keep on blogging! this is perfect and makes my dad! i miss you all up there and so glad i got to see you before i left! see ya in 3 weeks! <3
Loved seeing you! I hope I didn’t scare you with our little talk…you know how I feel about you, right? I think you are the BEST and I miss you very much. It’s not the same without you here. XOXO
Marlo Scott says
Love the blog!!! Say hi to Ava and all the gorgeous ladies of G7!!! XO
Marlo! I’m dying over Ava. She looks more and more like you every summer. It’s freaking me out. GORG. She is my girl. She even brought “Floyd Coden Jr.” up again this year. I’m so happy that she hasn’t grown out of me yet. That age can be sticky but they still love when I stop by their cabin, so I’m happy. Whatever you did with her, you did good. You know how I feel about her. Thanks for stopping by the blog. I hope you come back!
Amy Douville says
Your blog is beyond funny and entertaining! My daughter Emily is in G-6 and this is her second year. She loves camp so much she wanted to go the whole summer, but I ruined her plans and will be giving her a new baby sister in 5 weeks. She told my tummy before she got on the bus to wait for her to come back! I told Emily that she should be more like me and get in front of the camera as much as she can. I look forward to your blog and the pictures. Your daughters are absolutely precious!!! Have a great time!
Is Emily your daughter?? Were you (at one time) Meretsky? If so, I love her! If not, I’m an idiot but I’m sure I love your daughter–I’m just messed up because I don’t know of anyone here with the last name Douville. Either way, thank you for coming by. I am so happy you liked the piece and I hope you come back soon. Thank you, thank you!!
Amy Douville says
Yes.. I was married to Steven! You are correct..I love her too! I miss her so much.. I know she is having a blast. She LOVES it there!!! I check your page very 30 minutes in case you post some pictures! LOL!! If you see her, please tell her that I am so proud of her for taking and passing the swim test. She was not into it last year and we worked really hard to get her pumped to do it and then be able to enjoy all the water activities she was so excited to be a part of. Thank you!!!!
Hayley (Weitzman) Warren says
Wow, a blast from the past! Hello old neighbor… a mutual friend told me how you were connected to Tanuga and here, I come across your (AMAZING!!) blog! I was checking up on the FB page because my daughter (Ricki) is coming for the 1st time, 2nd session. Keep up on the updates as this is literally our first connection to seeing Tanuga! I’m so excited for Ricki as I’ve heard only great things about this camp. You look great and your daughters are just beautiful!
Hayley!! Hi!! I’m so excited to hear from you and I’m so happy you found me. I will FOR SURE look out for Ricki 2nd session. She is going to LOVE it. On the right side of the home page to the blog, there is a FB icon. If you click on it and LIKE the page, I put updates on there from time to time about camp too. You will get a kick out them and it will give you an idea of what goes on here. I’m so happy to hear from you and I hope you stop by again. XOXOXOXO R
Barry Meyer says
Fabulous!!!! Keep it up!!! I was laughing and crying!!!! Great pic of Harleigh and Dopp!!!
You are the best, Barry. Thanks for stopping by. I’m so happy you like it and I appreciate it so much. Give my girl, Paula, a big kiss for me when you see her. I miss her!! XOXOXO
You are fabulous — and camp sounds fabulous. What a great experience for children…you and Cody and staff will ROCK STAR their summer!!
Great memories are to be made — Great friendships to begin….
Love you – Miss you — Hope to see you SOON at Shirley’s!
Oh yeah, sister. Shirley’s! Bring it!! Love Shirley’s. LOVE!!!
becca J says
girlfriend…you wanted followers…you got 100’s more after that post!! Love you, Love your writing. You write what people think. I will read every post all summer!! xoxox
I’m so glad you liked it, Becs! I have a new post that I’m working on that will likely piss off just about all the new people I may have gotten. I got the idea yesterday and I’m going to write it and put it out in the next week or so. I hope I don’t lost YOU to it! XOXO
GramB & I spotted two special campers! Thanks for sharing Rob!!
All three are doing great. You did good by them, Lanes. XOXO
T. Faye says
GoodMorning, Good Morning……..
its early and the campers are still asleep.
Boy have I been living in the past since Nick has left.
Wish I could be with all of you enjoying the Tanuga Magic.
Love the blog!! Kisses to my boy if you see him.
Hope to see you when I get up there. XO
…and it looks, it looks like a BEAUTIFUL day!! He’s doing great. Love that he’s here. XOXOXO
marci shienbaum says
Love your blog. I can just visualiize how great it is!! I’m sure my guy is having a ball. He was born ti be a camper. First time for him so I miss him so much!! Have a great summer and I look forward to more great posts.
I am so, so happy you like it. Thank you for letting me know! I’m sure you miss him terribly but he’s in great hands. This is a very special place. I love that you checked in and I hope you come back one day when you have time or you’re just super bored. 🙂
Hi Robyn, love, love, love your blog – very entertaining and informative. Will be watching this space regularly for updates. Happy 40th birthday for the other week.
Thank you, thank you SO MUCH. You don’t know what that means to me (well, now you do). I put blog post updates on the Facebook page if you’re interested. Not sure if you’re on FB or not but if you want the updates, just click on the Facebook icon on the Home Page of the blog. Thank you again. You made my whole day!
Karle Fried says
Hi Robin, your Blog is amazing, I love you writing style. You make me laugh so hard and I could keep reading forever. Thanks! I was I was at camp! xo, Karle
Hi Karle! I’m so happy you like it! That means so much to me, you don’t even know. Also, I wish you were at camp too!!!
OK – sold – where do I sign up for camp?
Bring it on, sister! Do you need help packing your bags?
Barrie Frankel says
Robyn, I’m laughing out loud. YOU are the highlight of my summer. Cannot wait to be there with you in person. Please kiss Leah for me and tell her that it is official…I have begun to chase the mail lady down the block every day now since we are in the official time period of receiving her letters. And happ bday to littlest Coden…Molly cannot wait to play with both girls. Enjoy and keep us laughing! xoxoBarrie
Can’t wait until you guys get here!!!
i’m new to your blog, i found it while looking on the tanuaga site looking for pics of my boy, Brendan or CB as he says he’s known as!! he’s a new staff member from australia and loving it at your camp. he writes when he gets days off and has promised to put some photos up soon. it’s great to read your blog so i get an idea about what his day is like and what goes on at camp. it’s hard with him being so far away but i know that the camp will be so great for him and i’m sure he will make a great contribution to your camp…
Your son, Chippa, as we like to call him does a super fantastic “Bessie the Cow” talent show judge. You should be proud. In all seriousness, I’m glad he is loving it here and he is very funny. He has been such an asset to the staff. The staff members grow just as much (if not more, in some cases) as the kids. This is a very special place. I’m so happy you found the blog. Thank you for you checking in. It means a lot to me and I hope you come back soon!
thanks robyn…what an awesome message, you really made my week! he told me about the cow, i can just imagine him doing it! as it’s his first time away from home the decision was made for him to apply to tanuaga because you have a fantastic reputation in australia. i spoke to him today and he didn’t take a breath telling me about the amazing time he’s having. thanks so much again and i’ll be checking into your blog all the time. I’ve read some of your other stuff…very funny and you’ve got a great way with words.
I love that we have a great reputation in Australia! I’m sure it’s because of how great this camp is but I also like to think it’s because of me, so I’m going to. Thank you for giving the blog some of your time. It means so much to me that you enjoy it. Long live Bessie the Cow!