Read It To Believe It

My two older sisters went to camp, but Mom had to pick them up after two days because they wanted no part of it. I could have stayed all summer.

I am now 53, and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

–Brenda Jones


Fond Flashbacks

My first kiss from a boy!

Also, one summer a counselor sang “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor at night; now I sing it to my kids as a lullaby.

–Eileen Z. Wolter


Producing Memories

My first or second summer at Glenmere, the drama counselor asked whether any of us girls had written a play. My hand shot up. The counselor–her name was Gert Magnus–said she’d be interested in seeing it and perhaps producing it at camp.

That afternoon I wrote home, telling my mother where the script was hidden–under some games in my closet back home–and asking her to send it up quickly.

The play was produced for the junior campers one evening when the seniors were at an off-campus activity. It was called “The Chosen Jester,” a title that absolutely telegraphed the ending, but I was roundly congratulated for my work.

At the end of the show (which was mercifully brief), one of the adults (I think it was one of the directors) sent up a call of, “Author! Author!” and when I came out onstage, someone threw me a bouquet of wildflowers picked at the tennis courts. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.

Many years later, I wrote a play for kids that was based on the play that had been put on at Glenmere. This time, I knew enough to give it a title that didn’t telegraph the ending. The play was produced in New York. I had already moved to Florida by then but flew back to New York for the opening performance.

As proud as I was to see “King Theo-What’s-His-Name and Joey” produced onstage in New York, I believe I was prouder the night “The Chosen Jester” was produced at Camp Glenmere.

–Cynthia MacGregor (nee Aronson)


Acquired Skill Sets

It has been a long time since I attended camp, yet the memories are still vivid. I went to summer camp in northern Wisconsin every summer for nine years.

The memories are warm and wonderful. I made friends and had fun, but the things that stay with me are the wonder of discovery, the amazing beauty of the wilderness and the taste of wild blueberries eaten while on the trail.

I appreciate the many skills I learned–from putting up a tent and rolling a sleeping bag to weaving, crafts, archery, canoeing and swimming.

The beauty and the wonder come most readily to mind, probably because I so value these things as an adult. I remember whole meadows sparkling with fireflies, “fields” of water lilies along the edge of a glassy lake, miles and miles of pine trees fragrant in the sun. (I’ve even written poetry about the memories of that beauty.)

But, of course, as a youngster, I also valued the excitement: catching my first fish, learning how to right a capsized canoe, swimming races, learning to ride a horse, chopping wood and building a fire, and–as we became more advanced in our skills over the years–being able to go on overnight canoe trips.

And the friends were wonderful, too.

It was an entirely positive experience. I loved summer camp. I think it probably helped me become who I am today–a resilient, globe-trotting adventurer, who still loves camping under the stars.

–Cynthia Clampitt

Silvana Clark has over 20 years experience helping thousands of children create arts and crafts projects. She presents keynotes and workshops on a variety of recreation-related subjects. She can be reached at (615) 662-7432 or via e-mail at

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Related posts:

  1. Goodbye, Camp!
  2. Paddling Into The Future
  3. Guiding Counselors To Their Future
  4. Campers Leave Their Mark
  5. 2012–The Year Of Intentionality

One comment on “Read It To Believe It

  1. Barb Burkholder on said:

    Loved the stories! Took me back in time to my camping experiences. Loved the story about the snake. Laughed out loud!!!!

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