There is a Part 1 to this post. You should read that first and then come back!
There is a kind of “detox” that campers go through when they first get to camp, and then, when they get home, they have to go through it all over again. One of my friends refers to it as “re-entry.“ She’s right. Coming off a camp high is not easy, and even though you know it’s coming, it still feels very sudden.
For many campers, camp is their second home but still, after not being here for several months, it takes a minute to adjust when they come back. It’s actually the same for the staff—especially new staff who have never worked at an overnight camp before. They get to camp and they’re like “What the hell is THIS place??”
I get it. I understand the transition.
I also miss things from home when I‘m at camp: my friends, my heels and the instant hot water thing on my kitchen sink. The thing is, whether you’re a camper or a staff member, it goes fast, so it’s best to let yourself enjoy your camp time, because once you’re home, you can’t get it back—and you don’t want to be kicking yourself that you didn’t have fun while you were here.
But it takes a minute, for a lot of kids, to adjust. They always leave with some kind of positive experience though, no matter what kind of kid they are. Camp is an equalizer. Everyone starts at the same place, ground zero. And they can only go up.
Your mommy and daddy are going through a divorce? That sucks. Seems like this is probably the best place for you! See you at Milk & Cookies! Welcome to camp!!
You’re scared of heights? Try the trapeze or high ropes course. Just try not to eat 12 turkey subs at lunch and then go up. Welcome to camp!!
You’re family has a s**t ton of money? That’s awesome, when you get home buy me something, but while you’re here, your a$$ is broke. Welcome to camp!!
After a few days, most of the kids and staff settle in to camp life, but there are some who never make the adjustment. Camp isn‘t for everyone.
Some of my best girlfriends have kids that don’t go to overnight camp. That’s cool. In fact, I’m glad. If they did send their kids to camp, they’d probably send them here and then they’d bug me every day with questions like “Was he the star of the talent show? Did he go poopie? Is he eating his vegetables?” and I would tell them “Wait for a letter” and they’d be like “B**ch, you better tell me about my kid, why do you think I sent him to you?!?!”
But that’s all over because 2 days ago all of the campers and most of the staff left. It’s very strange here without them. It took me those few days to figure out that I, too, am going through a detox.
This summer was a very special summer. I don’t know if it’s because of the campers or the staff, or maybe it’s both because this was a year when a lot of former campers came back as staff. And of the ones that came back, so many were great.
What I can’t figure out is how kids I loved as campers are now be old enough to be staff?? Counselors? Even a Unit Director??
I’m not going to pretend that I know every camper at this place, I don’t. We get a lot of kids year in and out—just during second session this summer, there were about 200 kids. That’s a lot of freakin’kids! I get to know as many as I can, and I love them all, but there are some that I build a true bond with, and when those kids come back to camp, years later as staff, well there is no other feeling like that in the world.
I GET MY KID BACK!!!!!!
Thank you so much, parents who did EVERYTHING!! Thank you for all your hard work and then just letting me have your kid for the summer!! Yay for me!! And not only that, but I’m going to shake him down for everything you did to make him awesome and I’m going to copy ALL OF IT!!
Some of these kids are girls. Girls I want my girls to emulate. But many are boys—probably because I don’t have any boys of my own, and my girls don’t have any brothers. Brothers are important.
Because of camp though, my girls have some very special and very amazing “big brothers” in their world. They are in different places and different ages, but all loyal. If we called on any one of these guys, they would be there.
Sometimes I think to myself how funny it would be if some loser kid was picking on one of my girls when all of the sudden their “Army of Camp Brothers” showed up. “You got a problem, kid?”
That kid would pee in his pants.
It’s natural for campers to want to know the kids of the camp director families. “Kid of Camp Director” is pretty much rock star status at camp, and our camp isn’t so big that the campers don’t know who all of the directors’ kids are. Plus, one of mine is adopted and from China. I mean, you don’t often see a kid like that running around an overnight camp. You just don’t, especially a kid like this one:
It makes me happy when counselors ask “What do I need to do so your kids like me?” Some were old favorites of mine who want to maintain the familial relationship, but some don’t care about me, they only want to know my kids.
Isn’t it amazing how it all comes full circle? …And it continues, the next generation.
But now, camp is over and summer is drawing to a close. The campers are settling in at home, the staff is onto their next adventure and it’s time for me to go home and start the next chapter of life and Dim Sum and Doughnuts.
What a summer it was. Every camper, every staff member and every reader of Dim Sum and Doughnuts was very special to us. Thanks for the memories.
RIP Wax That Booty.
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Sharon DW says
Well said! My kids loved it there!
Thank you!! We loved having them! Looks like JJ is following in E’s footsteps…horse back riding was big for her this summer. BIG BIG BIG!! :)!
sigh….Lindsey used to cry when she came home from camp & didn’t want to see any of her friends for at least a week. Her transition has become better now. how ironic is it that I met your hubby (camp owner) at ASU before I met my hubby. And now my daughter is unit director at his camp. Didn’t see that coming as I was chugging beer bongs & laying by the pool. And anytime my daughter wants to come home is fine by me. Seriously, another week? xoxo
It’s one more week. You’ll be OK. Just grab a glass and do some beer bongs while you wait.
OOHH- I loved this one! Because I never went to camp, I can tell you, I don’t really get it. But, I believe, all you said is true. My kids LOVE your magical camp, but do need a minute of “camp detox”. I have used every ounce of my strength and resistance to NOT drive you crazy over the past 6 years while my babies were in Camp Tanuga’s care! I try to stay focused on the fact that you were my friend before our kids were born, and me making you crazy would kill our relationship! So, regardless of eating vegetables or being the camp star– I am subscribing to “camp mom ignorance is bliss”, and I’ll keep you as my friend any-day! Good luck on your own personal transition back home… xoxo
You could never kill our relationship, plus your kids are so great, they have only added to it!! I can’t believe we have had them for 6 years. How is this happening??? It was yesterday that they got here! Tell them to stop growing up. ALL KIDS NEED TO STOP GROWING UP!! 🙁
I have matured to drinking Mike’s. Thanks for including a pic of my girl in this post. Made me smile.
Mike’s! I didn’t even know they made that anymore and your girl is the best. (Both of them.) Thanks for doing all the work!