Monday, July 11, 2005

Our Camp Experience

This first part was written long-hand with a pencil with two of my girls holding flashlights for me for light:

I sit here on an extremely rickety, what one might call a bench, on the outer edges of the fire ring in the wilds of BFE.

I am tired. I am sweaty. I am pretty sure I stink and my bra couldn't be wetter if I'd just won a wet t-shirt contest in the middle of a typhoon.

Our children are so hyper it's not even funny. Abby swears she isn't tired, but when I tried to explain to her what "second wind" means it fell on deaf ears that had already dismissed me and run 25 feet up the trail.

I kind of got almost in trouble this evening at Grace before dinner. They - meaning the evil, overly-egotistical, warlords they call counselors - told us "Nothing in your hands, nothing on your heads" before they would pray. In my opinion a 'do rag is a hair accessory, not a hat. So I didn't take mine off. I really had no desire to, since I'd had it on since 7am and had sweat buckets since then. I knew what my hair looked like under there and I knew it wasn't pretty. Yet the particularly evil miniature warlord counsellor held up the whole prayer and walked down right in front of me and screamed rather hatefully, "NOTHING IN YOUR HANDS, LADIES!! NOTHING ON. YOUR. HEADS!!!!!" Sis jerked my rag off to save our entire group from sure embarrassment and I glared at that young zealot until I'm sure her very soul began to smoulder under my hateful gaze. From that moment on, Sis and I have prayed for just five minutes alone with her. Just five minutes. I'd have ripped her a new one, I'm sure, had I gotten that chance.

Now, before you go off on me, saying I don't like being ordered around - well, first of all, I don't like being ordered around, but secondly, the counsellors were totally MIA the entire time we were there. They gave us free reign of the grounds, sent us off into the wilderness without being trained, briefed or anything and then showed up right before dinner and expected us to bow down at their feet? I don't frickin' think so. If you are going to give the girls a true camp "experience" which is what they touted, then do it all the way. If they had made their presence known from the start, been in authority positions the entire time, I'd have certainly been more receptive to their authority. As it was, I resented it. A lot.

We were given a map and an intinerary when we arrived and that was it. We had no staff in the camp with us at all. Now, at one point, around 9 or so Saturday night, a truck rolled into our unit with three counselors armed with wasp spray. They didn't say "Hey, we're here to spray for wasps" or "Hey, kiss our superior asses" or anything. They just sprayed for wasps and left. No interaction with the moms, no interaction with the girls, NOTHING. There were lifeguards at the pool and there were counselors at the campfire teaching us the most depressing songs EVER and that was the extent of their interaction with us.

AND while I'm bitching, they didn't even make S'mores right! Hershey bars are a heck of a lot cheaper than canned frosting, yet they used messy chocolate frosting instead of a chocolate bar for an authentic S'more. And TotOne doesn't really care for S'mores so one moderately kind counselor told her she could have just graham crackers and icing. She sent her over to another counselor who was smearing icing. TotOne told her, very politely I might add, that she'd like to have just crackers and icing. The gal looked at her over her glasses and snottily said, "Fine." Tater nearly got up and kicked a that chick's ass. TotOne is so pure and so innocent and tries so hard, Tater said she'd hurt someone for sure if they hurt that child's spirit in any way.

Crafts were fun, though. The Nature Hut sucked. Swimming was cold. The showers were just the way I remembered them, except this time I could've cared less who saw my naked fat ass. Back when I was a camper I was so traumatized by being naked in a crowd during showers that I cried every day. The food was okay. Especially the Sonic burgers.

Sunday morning we were told there were evaluation forms for us to fill out. Melissa looked at me and said, "You better pick up a stack of 'em." I only picked up one, but trust me, that sucker was full of "suggestions" for next year. I just think it could've been done better. They asked for our opinions. I just gave it to them. Albeit, rather lengthily, but again, they asked.

But what matters is that the girls had a freakin' BLAST. I guess this is why kids go to camp. Not adults.

NOTE: I wrote this post nearly three years ago and yet I am still getting nasy, hateful comments. I took the camp's name off of the post because I'm nice that way. I refuse to retract the post entirely because I'm not nice that way. Please stop being nasty. I stopped, now it's your turn. I am closing comments on it because you can't play nice. Get a grip.

3 comments:

Mintahama Camper said...

I am utterly shocked that you had an experience like that at Camp Mintahama. I have been a camper/Counselor there for 17 years. I am sad to say that this is my last year at Camp and I know I will shed many tears over not being able to return next year.

If I may ask, what was it that you attended? It sounds like a "Mom and Me" Weekend. This had to be one or two years ago. I know every person that you mentioned in your "blog." I have known Storm since she was seven years old and she was once my camper. I apologize that YOU had a bad time, but even you stated that your children had a "BLAST."

For as long as I remember, I have been told that we, as counselors, are there for the girls. Also I learned something truly important while I was a girl there. Camp Mintahama is owned by the girls of camp. We cannot have camp without the girls like me that return year after year. This year is our 60th Anniversary so we must be doing something right.

I hope that you rethink your camp experience before badmouthing my favorite place in the world on the internet. To that little girl that moves from fosterhome to foster home, but comes to camp every year. We are her steady role model. To the girl whose father rapes her day after day. We are her one escape. To the girl who has never been taken seriously by an adult. We are her inspiration and hope.

I truly apologize that you've had a bad experience. I know that not everyone can love such experiences as a scout's own in Green Cathedral. Watching the june bugs hover around the apple orchard. The sound of the bullfrogs and crickets singing at night right along with the girls at the campfire. That is what I live for. I would give my life for any one of my campers. And I know most would do the same for me.

Come back sometime and I'll give you a personal tour. You can make your opinion up then.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you are not exactly cut out for camping - except maybe in an air conditioned camper/RV with people at your beck an call. I am the mother of a young woman who has attended Camp Mintahama since she was 8 years old, and she is now 21. She had attended sessions every summer, and when she got older she attended as a CIT and counselor. With the exception of the food not being exactly up to par at times :-), the camp has been a terrific experience for hundreds of young women for many years now. The counselors all could get much better paying jobs and have better living conditions for the summer (yes I do mean air conditioning, oh, and not getting eaten up with bugs every day), but they all choose to continue the tradition of Camp Mintahama and give of themselves to your children every day. They are the ones who actually speak to and not at kids, laugh with them and take them seriously, and not blow them off. You should be so lucky to have them in your daughters' life!! Next time you avail yourself of the experience of Camp Mintahama, why don't you get real and not expect the young women who are the counselors to read your mind. If you have a problem, then have enough self respect to address it at the time, and not post such vile untruths on the internet!!!

Anonymous said...

i was a counselor there last summer. We had two moms come with a troop of brownies. They were rude to us, did not listen to safty procedures and disrespected us infrount of the girls and others that worked there. It was OUR job to protect their girls and make sure they had a fun time. So we were loud and crazy just like little girls like. I'm sorry you hated it. But perhaps you should think you it's ment for LITLLE GIRLS who like pretend, or mothers who have lives and worries and blahblahblah. Hmmm, it is a GIRL Scout Camp. i think it's kinda obvious. Don't go next time. I'm sure the girls would have more fun with out you dragging things down.