Category Archives: sleep-away camp

The Ex-Camper’s Guide To Summer

It’s the last week of June. We’ve celebrated Father’s Day, good television shows have wrapped, and flip flops & sundresses have taken the place of leggings & Uggs. This means only one thing…it’s time to pack it up and head to CAMP!!! Unfortunately for me, that Adirondack Trailways bus has been leaving Paramus Park Mall without me for the last 8 years. And even though almost a decade has gone by since I packed my duffels for my summer home, my heart still aches the day the campers leave for camp. Since I know I am not the only ex-camper suffering from FOMCL (Fear Of Missing Camp Life), here are some tricks I’ve come up with that may help:

1) Plan your meals around the camp menu. For me, a Friday is not complete without spit-in-the-eyes and Elios pizza.
2) Sing while you eat. Who cares if everyone at the restaurant is staring!? Chances are someone is bound to join you! (crazy loves company)
3) Change your alarm ring on your phone to bells. And while you’re at it, have it go off at every hour and insist you have to change activities at that time
4) No matter what kind of juice you are drinking, only refer to it as “bug juice”
5) Wear your bathing suit under your clothes: you should always be prepared for your next activity
6) Turn off your A/C and only use clip-on fans, Vornados, & Squeeze-Breezes to keep yourself cool
7) Bored on a rainy day? Invite your friends over for a lip-sync contest or a rousing game of human anagrams
8) Only watch the following movies: Meatballs, Wet Hot American Summer, Indian Summer, Camp Nowhere, and Heavy Weights. I will also accept watching Camp Rock (because who doesn’t LOVE the Jo Bros??!!)

9) Write letters to your friends. The joy of getting mail never ends!
10) Pick a day of the week and refer to it as your day off. Make t-shirts with a slogan, sleep out the night before, and leave a note that no one can sleep in your bed while you’re gone.
11) Looking for a mate? Gather other singletons together in an outdoor hockey rink/basketball court/park and play games like freeze dance or steal-the-bacon.
12) Walk down your block around 830pm and sing “Taps”to everyone
13) Short-sheet your own bed
14) Stock your cabinets with the essentials: Pringles, Ez-cheese (Sharp Cheddar or American), Crystal Lite Iced Tea mix, Tootsie Pops, Peanut Butter & Fluff (my weakness), and the all important Ramen Noodles. These are not just snacks, they are bargaining tools!

15) Refer to your place of residence as a bunk and your stuffed animals as bunk mates/campers/co-counselors
16) One day in August while at your place of employment, suddenly jump up from your desk, start singing/screaming, rip your clothes off, and reveal to your co-workers that color war has broken out!! Split the office into two teams (Gold’s Quarterly Goal and Blue’s Budget Busters) and compete for 4 days. You’ll inevitably get irrationally angry when the other team is meeting in your designated conference room, but remember it’s all about “Sportsmanship”
17) Create a job wheel of chores for yourself. Only, whatever job it lands on, it always entitles you to first shower
18) When you are ready to go home from a night out on the town turn on your mag-light flashlight, start scouring the bar for your friends, and yell “FIVE MINUTES! EVERYONE OUT OF THE WOODS!!”
19) ONLY accessorize with homemade jewelry & don’t ever take it off. Wait til the string inevitably rots away and falls off

20) Upon arrival greet your house guests with a “Welcome Song”
21) Keep a few rocks in your pocket, drop them on the ground, and shuffle over them. It’ll be JUST like walking the gravel paths at camp
22) Go to your local basketball courts and see if you can get in a pick-up game of Knockout
23) Call home once a week and only see your parents for 36 hours on the 3rd weekend of July
24) Wear an outfit, throw it back in your closet, wear it two days later, and insist that it has been “cubby washed”
25) At the end of the summer gather your friends together and hand out construction paper awards. Afterwards, sit in a circle, hold hands, and sing “Leavin’ On A Jetplane” whilst you burn the paper mâché 2012 sign you have painstakingly created. **if you don’t have a lake in your backyard, do it in your bathtub**

I know nothing can replace the feeling of actually being at camp, but hopefully these tips will help fill that hole in your heart that should be filled with summer camp joy. And just remember how lucky you are to have something so special to miss so much!

I love my camp so much that I HUGGED the tennis courts on a recent visit