Read It To Believe It

Camp memories last a lifetime.

Moonlight Bath

On really hot nights, the head counselor announced skinny-dipping after the evening activity. Instead of returning to our bunks to get ready for “Taps,” we’d return long enough to grab towels and bathrobes and go to the waterfront–naked under the bathrobes–to swim in the darkness or near-darkness.

Despite the lack of light, we were certain someone was spying on us. Any boat that was out on the lake–however far away–we were sure contained boys from nearby Camp Monterey, and we were equally sure they were surveying our immodestly nude bodies.

–Cynthia MacGregor (nee Aronson)

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Slippery Slapstick

I went to camp with a friend; I think we were 9 or 10 at the time. I remember it like it was yesterday.

We had a big rain storm one night that caused a water moccasin to move up from the lake into the camp. The camp director shot it with a shotgun and left it out for us guys to look at in the morning. (You know boys are always curious about such things.)

I wanted to scare my buddy, so I picked up the snake and whirled it around and around, hoping to drop it right in front of him as he walked away. Unfortunately for him, my aim was slightly off. The snake hit him on the back of the neck, causing it to coil around his neck. He started screaming and jumping up and down, desperately trying to uncoil it. Once he freed it, he looked at me with blood in his eyes and started chasing me with the intent of doing me bodily harm.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to run for your life while simultaneously laughing your butt off?

–John Wilder

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Following In Footprints

I attended Camp Pembroke in Pembroke, Mass., for 10 summers beginning when I was 9 years old. I went to the all-girls sleep-away camp for eight weeks every summer. My closest friends today were my camp friends, and two of them were even in my wedding.

My fondest memories were hanging out in the bunk late at night, eating junk food and laughing, laughing, and laughing. Sailing on the lake, swimming in the pool, and playing silly games during athletics were so much more fun because we were with our best friends.

I have a 9-month-old daughter and have already told my husband that we need to start saving for camp! As a non-camp person, he still can’t understand the importance of going to camp, but I think he’s starting to catch on–slowly.

–Brie Barash

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Growing Up Girly

I was a camper and a counselor at Camp Pembroke for eight summers, and some of my most cherished childhood/adolescent memories are from camp.

I remember feeling safe and loved every summer when I returned, surrounded by my closest friends. It was the time of year I most looked forward to as I felt I could let my guard down and abandon worry about what boys thought of me.

I can still remember the words to the songs we sang, the smell of coffee cake on Saturday mornings, the feeling of the grooves of the metal dock on my feet. It’s all so vivid and fantastic.

I am still close with many of my camp friends to this day, and one of our favorite activities is reminiscing about our days in the bunk–waiting for our counselors to return from a night out, telling tales of our fist kisses, getting our periods for the first time–we experienced it and navigated the challenges together at camp.

Nothing felt right when we returned home after a summer at camp. No one understood what was so special about our Pembroke bubble. We were campsick–not homesick!

–Joanna Aven Howarth

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