Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Craving for Camp

Doesn't that sound funny?  Can you crave a time and a place?

A few weeks back I dug through a box of old pictures looking for a particular one and found just a few from the summer of 2001 when I worked at Lochearn Camp for Girls -- a private girl's camp in rural Vermont.  Then today, I was sewing up another pillowcase for the girls' cozy nook and thought "this would be awesome fabric for camp!"  I love summer camp!!  In high school, when I went to Young Women's camp, I had 4 years of fantastic experiences despite the mosquitoes and spiders and dirt.  I've always wanted to be in our Young Women's program at church and since becoming an adult, never have been!!! Ironic isn't it?  When I've been friends with a lot of YW leaders who have dreaded camp!!  

Anyway, I digress.  Lochearn.  I want to write about it now so I don't forget and I may have to dig up old letters to my parents and things and see what they say too.  But in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to write the story since we're into the first week of summer here and I am craving summer camp!!!

I don't remember how I found out about Lochearn or even when the idea first popped into my head, but at the beginning of the summer I got in my car and drove the 9 hours by myself (no cell phone!) from Virginia to Vermont.  When I arrived at the camp I felt like I had stepped into the camp in The Parent Trap (which we may have to find and watch now!).  Cabins clustered in groups along the lake and in the trees, a main dining and activities building and the flagpole front and center.  Actually, go to their website and see the pictures: Camp Lochearn  -- there's actually a virtual tour of the camp that includes cabin interiors, etc.  The White Mountains are in the distance and we did a day hike up there -- idyllic setting really.

I had been hired as a camp counselor and then rehired as a group leader (I can't remember what it was called).  That meant that I was in charge of the counselors for one of the age groups.  Mine was 8-10ish.  The youngest campers.  Campers were arranged into age groups and for the younger girls there were 4 to a cabin with a counselor in the cabin.  I got my own cabin (awesome!) and had about 7 cabins under me with their campers and counselors.  Halfway through the session we had a counselor leave and I got to move in with the campers and do double-duty until a replacement was hired for the 2nd session.  The website says the sessions are 3 1/2 weeks but I'm pretty sure they were six when I was there.  And it was the youngest cabin.  Poor girls were all 7 turning 8 in the summer and they were sweethearts but I can't imagine Megan being in summer camp for that long and she's about that age!!
My girls of cabin F -- ha I almost forgot!!  We had a bat in our cabin.  I laid awake one night listening to it chirp (is that what bats do?) and the girls slept through it.  But the next night it was spotted and you can imagine chaos that ensues when you're trying to get a bat out of a small cabin with 4 screaming 8-year olds.  One of the other counselors, Naz I think, got a broom and in the process broke our overhead light.  So then we had a bat, 2 counselors, and 4 screaming girls in the dark.  We did finally get it out -- I think it came back the next night -- and then they installed a bat house on a nearby tree and we were good after that!!

Each counselor also taught classes and they had all your classic camp classes: canoeing, swimming, basket weaving, theater, crafts, various sports, and for an extra fee you could do English riding.  What did I teach?  Scrapbooking and I don't know what else.  I didn't teach quite as many classes because of other duties.

Cabins did have electricity but no air-conditioning (not needed!!!) and had to be cleaned up ready for the day by breakfast.  Girls brought fabric from home and used it to make curtains around their beds or in the windows.  This actually was my first exposure to Harry Potter because as I was going around on opening day helping with move-in, one girl was hanging up Harry Potter fabric and I didn't know who that was!!

We had so many fun camp activities!!  The counselors and staff were the red team and girls were divided into blue and green and stayed on that team for as many years as they came to Lochearn.  So we would play games against each other, we had songs and chants for our team (I can still do R-E-D and it was hard to learn!), etc.  We had campfire every Sunday night I think where we dressed in camp uniform -- navy shorts, white Lochearn shirt, red plaid sash, knee high socks and sang camp songs and had a program.
Crazy dress night????

Me and my counselors for the junior level
Wow bringing up all these memories is really making the holes apparent!!  I have to have this written down somewhere.  2001 -- no cell phones and internet was spotty so I called my family once a week on an office phone and wrote snail mail to them.  I doubt my mom has those letters but now I wonder if I have them tucked away somewhere.

The people.  The people!!  Obviously I didn't know anyone on arrival and most names I've forgotten but it was a very safe environment and I made fantastic friends.  There were a few other LDS girls there and we went to church on Sunday when we could.  There were quite a few girls from England and Australia and that was fun to compare lives, and then there was also a group from Eastern Europe, Romania I think -- that group included our male water instructors that made all the teenage girls in camp twitter-pated.  The food was actually pretty good even if it did get old from repetition but I do remember some of the Australian girls had brought Vegemite with them (I thought it was awful!) and my friend Leanne sent home for decent tea because we didn't have any!

I can't think of a whole lot else right now.  Maybe I'll dig and see what I can find.  I should be posting stuff like this though.  I didn't start blogging until we had Megan and there's years of good stuff from when Chopper and I were first married, etc.  Since I print my blog off into a book every year, I should be including more from our "family history!"

So that's the basics at any rate.  Especially since we're already approaching 100 degrees here I am really wishing for hot days but cool, perfect nights and that carefree, summer enjoyment that camp gives.  I can't wait until the girls are able to go to camp -- probably just our week long church camp -- but I hope that they love it as much as I do!! 


Stacey said...

Oh my gosh, this brought back so many memories! Leanne shared this with me and I LOVE it! Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Stacey (Senior line, cabin 21 and 20)

Krista T said...

I totally have ALL of the letters you sent me from camp, and they are moving with me to NC! I can take pics and send them to you so you can reread. I went through my personal stuff a few months ago and got rid of generic thing but kept all of my letters and I specifically remember seeing several of these!