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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Camp Tales - A Rustic Life

Five Girls - One Shower
Camp is a different world and if you have never gone, it's hard to understand. When you live and work there for an entire summer it is a VERY different world. There is a rawness that seeps from and through every aspect. AT one camp my craft hall consisted of a pavilion with a storage space on the end I shared with the naturalists, at another I had a real room, but it was still on the rustic side. Showers, meals, cabins... everything tends to favor the rustic side of life, even the staff. For many kids, it is their first time away from home and their parents. It is not uncommon for counselors to have to strongly remind campers to shower or brush their teeth. Admittedly, the staff often looks a little different than they do in real life as well, adapting to life in the middle of now where. It's not surprise that camp life often a attracts people that tend to favor what many might consider among the hippy variety. While we showered and I know of no staff that let personal hygiene lack, I admit that it was no uncommon that my one roommate and I had a tendency to wait to brush our hair AFTER breakfast. As staff we couldn't get away with pajamas in the dining hall (dress codes), but we highly valued our time sleep time in the morning, choosing to make our tea and pulling hair into pony tails or loose knots over taking the time to actually do something with it. We brushed it, after breakfast when we had more time.

Even when we weren't pulling our hair into a knot for breakfast, camp brings out a different part of a person and their appearance. My long hair was usually pulled back into a variety of pony tails, braids, and pig tails. While the staffs I lived and worked with embraced the more natural and rustic life, we also looked forward to dressing up a bit. One summer on one of our first visits off site our excitement evolved from a heading into town for dinner to being able to wear the things we couldn't on site (tank tops & halter tops not going with our working dress code) to actually going through the process of doing our hair and even applying some make-up. The guys we lived with shook their heads, but later that evening many of the campers we spent our days and meals with didn't recognize us. I would find surprise later with campers and counselors that I ran into after camp was done and we all went back to our regular lives.

Yes, camp life is different. It's special and allows a bit of rawness that the rest of the world doesn't always have a place for. For some people it's just a summer, for others it gets into their blood.

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