This fine paper recently posted an online list of summer camps, so you can start panicking. If you have to ask if there’s still room, there’s no room. But here are a few camps that didn’t make the list.
Wal-Mart Parking Lot Astronomy Camp. Mon.-Wed., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Campers will study the sky and identify stars that would be visible if it wasn’t, you know, broad frickin’ daylight.
Crafts ’n’ Such Retreat. We believe every child can be an artist, and to prepare them for a life in the visual or mixed-medium arts, they will spend the morning criticizing successful artists, then wait tables in the afternoon. One camper will be chosen to be a “breakout talent,” given a gallery showing, and then thrown in the lake by his or her peers.
Camp Sport, the Sports Camp. Learn fun new sports like Snorkel Archery and Synchronized Badminton. New this year: Segway Jousting! Don’t worry about picking the kids up; we make them run home.
Camp Social. Set in the beautiful North Woods, this camp provides an excellent setting for your teen to take a picture of their flip-flopped feet on the dock and Instagram it with the hashtag #camplife. Wait ’til they find out there’s no Wi-Fi.
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Most of these places aren’t really camps. If your parents pick you up at 5 p.m. it’s not camp. It’s day care.
Camp, as properly understood, requires: A pseudo-Indian name like Camp Hoc-a-loogie. Barracks that smell like wet wood, rusty plumbing, and mildewed mattresses. A mess hall where you get government-surplus reconstituted eggs and pancakes that can be used later as Frisbees. No chance of parental intervention, even if the mean kid singles you out because you wear earplugs at the swimming hole. But I get infections! you bleat, as he gives you an Atomic Wedgie for being King Dork.
For many years I went to White Earth Lutheran Camp, a camp for white earth Lutherans. I’ll never forget being sent out on a snipe hunt by the older campers, and was humiliated to learn it was a fool’s errand.
I learned something that night, something I’ve never forgotten: Next year, I can humiliate the new kid. Unfortunately, he came back with a snipe. Took the wind out of everyone, it did.
Anyway, if you can send your kids away to real camp, do it. Just don’t expect them to write. I used to harangue Daughter for that: “You couldn’t write?”
“Maybe it hasn’t been delivered yet,” she’d say, and that was possible. The mail came at 1 p.m., and Pokemon Camp only went until noon.