Friday, May 28, 2010

camp for camp appeal

Summer is an interesting time. The increase in temperature seems to push people to an anxious state where they to do fun, new, exciting and sometimes, stupid things. I decided to spend my summer working at an all boys summer camp working as the camp videographer. My newly signed contract prohibits me from actually mentioning the name of the camp but trust me, it’s a nice camp. They tell me it’s the nicest all boys camp in Texas. Why anyone would send their kids to a single-sex camp is beyond me. I thought camp was a place of first loves and first kisses. Now I know what you’re thinking,why are you working at an all boys camp, well I will tell you: Money. Boredom. Curiosity. The camp is going to pay me more than my normal jobs would. There is nothing else going on this summer. And seriously, I’ve never done the camp thing so it might actually be fun. I might as well experience something like this while I still can. I won’t be the only girl there. Apparently there are 7 other girls working at the camp doing various things and our cottage has air conditioning and blinds on the windows (my new boss told me this like 10 times so apparently it’s important to note).

My new boss reassures me it’s a normal boys camp that does “boy things”. When I asked what kind of boy things he replied “Boy things like horseback riding and archery” . Oh because girls don’t like horseback riding or archery. He went on to explain to me that they don’t do Arts and Crafts because that’s what girls do, [at this camp] they do Nature Crafts. For example in Nature Crafts, the boys might make a house out of Popsicle sticks, similar to Arts and Crafts, but then place the newly made houses at the bottom of a hill then proceed to throw rocks at the houses to see who’s house can survive an avalanche. I apparently have a lot to learn. I wonder how many times someone is going to say to me this summer, “oh boys will be boys”.

Needless to say, I’m a little nervous because I’ve never really been to camp and I’m 25 years old. Apparently I will be one of the oldest counselors there. I will be completely out of my element. I’ve never been on a horse, though I rode a camel once at the San Antonio Zoo, I’ve never shot a gun before, I’ve never shot a bow and arrow, I actually like arts and crafts and I vote democrat and sometimes third party. When I was a kid I begged my mom to send me to camp but instead we went on family vacations, similar to National Lampoon’s vacations, complete with wackiness that I will save for another post. At the time I thought it was completely lame but looking back, I’m glad my parents insisted on keeping us all together and seeing the country. Really camp is pretty lame and cheesy from what I can tell. Are they going to make us hold hands and sing around a camp fire?!

All I know about camp is what I’ve learned from television and movies. I feel like camp will be a cross between Wet Hot American Summer, Camp Nowhere, Heavy Weights, Friday the 13th,Parent Trap and Salute Your Shorts. Now I’ve never seen Little Darlings but I hear it’s worth seeing as far as camp movies goes (I added it to my Netflix que). I can only assume that at camp there will be a collection of misfits that comes together and unites over some sort of competition, hatred for our parents and/or to humiliate the head of the camp. All these movies do have one unifying message, at camp, you make lasting friendships. I hope this is true. I can never have too many friends.

I’m actually hoping for the cheesiest, kitschiest, typically lamest camp experience possible. Thankfully whenever it gets too much for me, I’m sure I’ll be able to hide behind a camera or say I have to go edit. It can’t be an accident that camp (a supervised program for children and/or teenagers conducted during the summer months in some countries) and camp (an aesthetic sensibility wherein something is appealing because of its bad taste and ironic value) are the same word. Whenever I think about something having camp value I can’t help but think about the episode of The Simpsons (Homer Phobia) when John Waters guest stars as John, the gay guy, where he explains to Homer what camp is:

John: It’s camp! The tragically ludicrous? The ludicrously tragic?
Homer: Oh, yeah! Like when a clown dies.
John: Well, sort of.

Camp is definitely campy. I wonder if there will be a campy summer camp love interest. Maybe we’ll hold hands by the water when no is looking, while our feet dangle off the dock. I’m so embarrassed and excited for this fantasy.

Of all the movies and tv shows about camp, I’d like to think this one is the least absurd and thus closest to the reality of camp but who knows — I guess I will after this summer. Enjoy the opening credits to Canada’s own Salute Your Shorts!

Well wish me luck. I leave on Tuesday and won’t be back until August.