Summer Camp

When my sister Lindy and I were children, we were never allowed to participate in any type of summer camp.

We couldn’t go to Bible Camp since our mother claimed we would come back “all religious.”

We couldn’t go to Girl Scout caalcohol-and-cigarettesmp because Mary our mother couldn’t see herself “locked away in the woods” without the necessities of daily life, namely alcohol and cigarettes.

We couldn’t even join the neighbor kids on the truck for day camp because our mother said

No one is going to tell me what time my kids have to be ready each morning in the summer.

So, as you can imagine, I thought summer camp was just about the most fantastic experience I could offer my darling son. I signed him up for a YMCA Camp out in the country and started talking it up. I mentioned the swimming every day. I went on to discuss the crafts and boating and I mentioned how much total fun there would be at camp. My son looked at me doubtfully.

The next few weeks were busy arranging clothes and name tags and packing. I knew he would want to write to his parents and grandparents and maybe even a few aunts and uncles so I bought him a package of adorable cards. I even placed the family members’ names and addresses on the envelopes to make everything convenient for him. I had such visions of the interesting notes he would be writing, I even placed a stamp on each envelope. Now all he had to do was write about his fun adventures at the camp and mail them.

We drove to camp with Taylor announcing every few miles or so that he did not want to attend the Y Camp, and me encouraging him to give it a try. I spoke about new friends and the campfires they would have at night, but Taylor was far from convinced.

I drove happily home after settling Taylor in his cabin with his writing materials. He actually must have gotten the cards out prior to unpacking his suitcase. He filled out every card and mailed them immediately. They all said pretty much the same thing:

I hate camp.  It is horrible here.  Please come and pick me up.



Held HostageAll of our relatives received this message on the Monday after Taylor left for camp, and I’m sure they were thrilled to realize that he was being held hostage somewhere in the wilderness.

Later that first day, Taylor made his first visit to the director of the camp. Ray ran the Y Camps for many, many years and he knew how to handle boys like Taylor. When my son told Ray he was unhappy and had no intention of staying for the week, Ray said

I understand.  Please come back tomorrow at the same time and we’ll talk about it.

Taylor left with his resolution in tact.

Poor Ray! He didn’t realize how tenacious Taylor was. He thought Taylor would get involved in the activities at the camp and forget about leaving.

Cover of "I Want to Go Home!"

The next day Taylor returned with the exact same message at the exact same time. Ray valiantly tried to convince Taylor to give it one more day and come back the next day at the same time. Of course, Taylor returned each day at the same time with the same complaint:

I want to go home

After three days of both my son and Ray feeling they were each being tortured, Ray called me and announced:

I have never let any child out of Y Camp but your son just won’t give up.

Taylor was the only person ever allowed out of the Y Camp. Ray had an almost perfect record! And needless to say, so did Taylor: he never signed up for or attended any camp again.

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