The summer 2010 I did something that I will probably never get to do again, I went to camp, an all boys camp at that, at the ripe old age of 25. Part of me wished that I had gone there under the guise of a sociological study of human behavior, specially males in their gender programming as done through camp. I feel like I could have written and some sort of great thesis paper or dissertation on this that would eventually one day get published. Maybe I would title it What Boys Do When [They Think] Girls Aren’t Around: Male Gender Programing and Behavior at Summer Camp. But alas I was not their for social science purposes and I did not collect any solid data or conduct any real surveys. I did observe many things that I thought I would share with you.
Before I get into it I did also learned a lot about myself this summer when it comes to my prejudgments of country living and people I fondly use to refer to as “townies”, people from small towns. I went completely outside myself even though I was very uncomfortable at first and I came out a better person for it.
Boys like to dance. Oh yes ladies, the boys at camp love to get down. Every cabin clean up, cookie line, rest period, commissary, and shower-time the boys would dance to whatever music we played. It was amazingly hilarious. I ended up making two dance montage videos featuring just the campers and counselors dancing. However there is a small decrease in the dancers starting with the 11-13 year olds.
Boys love pop music. This mostly refers to the younger campers but I have never heard more pop music in my life than I did at camp. All summer long I heard Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus and Tik Tok by Ke$ha and Poker Face by Lady Gaga etc.
Boys will do things without any consideration for anyone around them but themselves.Granted, the camp that I’m not allowed to mention, does try make the boys more independent and self reliant. However a lot of these boys could just be called selfish.
Boys love ‘MERICA! Seriously I’ve never been around so many people with such extreme patriotism and national pride. Some of the campers asked me one day which country I was from. I didn’t know where this was going so I answered. They seemed surprised that I was from America because “[I] don’t say the pledge [of allegiance]” in the morning. I was taken back. I explained that being an American gives me the freedom to choose to actually say the pledge of allegiance but that I do love my country and give it my respect. I am always quiet and respectful during the whole flag raising. This didn’t satisfy them because they ended up calling me a “terrorist”.
I feel like many of the boys actually felt like this song. Fuck Yeah!
Texas Two-Step. Every Saturday night all the counselors and basically the whole town of Kerville, Ingram and Hunt go to this rodeo and country-music club called, Criders. I was very reluctant to go to this club since I’m not really a fan of country music but my friend, Kevin, convinced me to go and it was actually fun. Some of the guys even took the time to teach me how to Texas Two Step. It was fun. I genuinely looked forward to going on Saturday and drinking the $2 Bud Lite Lime.
Friendship is probably one of the most important things there is. period. I thought a lot about the nature of friendship this summer. What makes two people come together and become friends – shared interests and likes? proximity to one another? The campers that liked camp were the ones that made friends and the campers that didn’t like camp and tired to run away were usually the ones that had a harder time. Personally, I had a lot more fun once I made friends too. It’s hard being a loner when everyone around you is having fun. I really appreciate of people like Kevin (in picture with a silly mustache I convinced him was a good idea), Ashley, Katharine, Andrew, Francesco, Kile, etc. Thanks for accepting me in the camp family.
Summer Nights from Grease has a whole new meaning. At camp people hook up and have relationships. I was guilty of this myself. Let’s look…
[him] Summer lovin’ had me a blast (Yeah It was actually fun)
Summer lovin’ happened so fast(meh I dunno)
[him] I met a girl crazy for me (I was not crazy for him. He was all right)
Met a boy cute as can be (he was cute)
[Both] Summer days driftin’ away, to uh-oh those summer nights (meh)
Uh Well-a well-a well-a huh Tell me more, tell me more, Did you get very far? (umm yeah)
Tell me more, tell me more, Like does he have a car? (actually he had a truck)
Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh
[him] She swam by me, she got a cramp (whatever, I don’t cramp up when I swim but we did go swimming together)
He ran by me, got my suit damp (again not applicable)
[him] I saved her life, she nearly drowned (now this is a funny inside joke but he actually almost drowned the camp nurse BUT later saved a campers life)
He showed off, splashing around (he was kind of a show off but it’s cool)
[Both] Summer sun, something’s begun, but uh-oh those summer nights (meh)
Uh well-a well-a well-a huh Tell me more, tell me more, Was it love at first sight? (no. I noticed him. But once I heard him talk I hated him)
Tell me more, tell me more, Did she put up a fight? (we fought all the time)
[him] Took her bowling in the arcade (we did play games in an arcade and we sort of went bowling)
We went strolling, drank lemonade (n/a but there was lemonade in the dining hall which I’m sure we drank at some point)
[him]We made out under the dock (not at the dock, no)
We stayed out ’till ten o’clock (it was actually more like 1:30am and then he was done for the night)
[Both] Summer fling, don’t mean a thing, but uh-oh those summer nights (this I mostly agree with)
Other people’s summer flings ended tragically in real heart ache and sadness. Thankfully mine had an understanding from the beginning. Almost all the unattached girls at camp had a guy or two. It was all interesting. Those first couple weeks were probably more telling than I realize. I wish I could go back in time and watch it.
It’s pretty easy to ride a horse. I don’t know what all the fuss is about, it was really easy to ride a horse. Granted my horse did all the work but seriously piece. of. cake. I’m probably exaggerating but I kind of felt like I could handle myself on a horse but I felt bad about it. This animal could obviously crush and kill me at any moment, why on earth did it allow people to tame him.
“One day at camp is like two weeks in real life.” There is a This American Life episode about camp which I heard awhile back and decided to relistened to it while I was at camp and it took on a whole new meaning. I understood what all the fuss is about. There really is a difference between regular people and camp people. If you’ve never really been to a summer camp then you don’t understand the weird inside jokes, the traditions and the deep friendships. Even though I’ve only known these people (my camp friends) for 2 months, I care about them and would totally back them up. “One day at camp is like two weeks in real life” is a quote from that TAL episode and it is completely true. Camp is a bubble in a time warp. The outside world only exists when the mail comes. I had no idea what was happening with the BP oil spill or anything really because I was at camp. I maybe got like 10 minutes on the internet each day, if that. All that was important was what was going on at camp, the people and drama.
The Stats (Inside Jokes):
Favorite Summer Drink: Ice water from dining hall, Bud Lime from Criders, Jam Jar Wine with Ashley and the girls.
Favorite Summer Food: Guacamole from dining hall, Chili’s Honey Chipotle Chicken Crispers ® with mashed potatoes and broccoli
Favorite Summer Snack: Ice cream Snicker bars, Orange Dreamsicles, Cascadian Farms Organic Vanilla Chip Granola Bars®
Favorite Summer Activity: Swimming in the Guadalupe River then laying on the dock and letting the sun dry me while I listen to my ipod and watch the kidos play