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So in the past week I’ve been counting all the signs that fall is nearing. I do like me some fall so I can’t complain too much, but it’s the bit right past that I have trouble with.
Anyway summer camp keeps popping up. First a new series about a weight loss boarding camp, but then on Friday I was working at a local church and as I was leaving two busloads of kids arrived home from summer camp. It took me back to my own experience with that whole vacation genre. For several summers I found myself at a two-week overnight camp someplace in Northern Minnesota.
Didn’t go so well. Even as a kid I had this thing about being able to sleep in my own bed. Take that away and stick me in an open-sided tent with mosquito netting and it’s just a recipe for whininess. Any aspects I enjoyed were dwarfed by the lack of indoor plumbing.
The last year I went to the camp I remember not wanting to go at all. But my mom promised that if I was really unhappy I could go home halfway through. Which I tried to do but the camp director (who at some point decided he hated me) refused to let me go home. And so did my mom.
A few days after my failed escape attempt, I woke up in my open-sided, mosquito-infested tent and didn’t feel so hot. I told my counselors, who accused me of faking it to get out of chores. They told me to get up and do chores or I couldn’t eat breakfast. I got up. I did chores.
Now every day before breakfast we would all circle up in the center of the camp to raise the flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance and read general announcements.
On that day, halfway through the Pledge I started feeling rather warm and was seeing blobs of bright colors. I remember thinking, “Cool”. And then “Well this can’t be—”.
I woke up 30 seconds later, dazed, flat on my back, and looking up at a circle of faces that were looking down at me. First and last time I ever fainted. If I’m only going to do it once, I can’t get much more dramatic than that.
I wound up in the infirmary that morning and had a variety of visitors: the camp director, who acted like I had orchestrated the whole incident; my counselors, who felt so guilty for not believing me that they were extra nice and made me cards; and of course other campers. The camp nurse, meanwhile, gave me aspirin.
Ironically enough that night I went home and got to sleep in my own bed while I went to some doctor’s appointments. I had to go back and finish the rest of the week, but my mandatory vacation made the time go a lot faster. And that was the end of my summer camp adventures.