For a while I went through a phase in which I was obsessed with summer camp. I really, really wanted to go, and my inner eleven-year-old is still gutted that I never had the chance to ride horses, make lanyards, or sing songs around a campfire. I have no idea why summer camp appealed to me so much, but it might have to do with the YA books I was reading. I give you my favorite camp books:
You know BSC+camp was like a bookgasm for preteen me. The part I remember most clearly was Mary Anne being nicknamed “the feeb” by Logan’s cabin mates for the cheesy love letter she wrote to him.
Sorry, only picture I could find. For those of you who don’t feel like squinting and giving yourself eyestrain, it’s Hail, hail, Camp Timberwood by Ellen Conford. Thirteen-year-old Melanie goes to summer camp, learns to swim, learns to ride a horse, and falls for a dreamy guy. If that wasn’t a great ad for camp to eleven-year-old me, I don’t know what was.
Camp Girl Meets Boy by Caroline B. Cooney. Oh man, this one had everything. Boy drama, bitchiness, “frenemies”… it was like Gossip Girl in the woods. Good times.
ETA: I forgot about this one. I got these through Book Week in grade school (remember those?). This was one of those books I loved even though I didn’t care that much about the main premise (e.g. BSC). I didn’t really care about the horse stuff but read for the middle school drama.
OK, not a book, but I loved this show. I wish I could find it on DVD. Old skool Nick is love.
I even tried writing some stories about camp (not having actually gone did not faze me in the least). I wrote the first one when I was about ten or eleven, I think. I never finished it, but it was pretty easy to see where it was going. The main characters go hiking and get lost in the haunted woods surrounding the camp. It probably would’ve still been better than Blair Witch. I wrote the second one when I was about thirteen or fourteen, I think, and by then, I was more interested in boys than ghosts. The heroine, an awkward and clumsy 13-year-old, goes to camp and falls for a dreamy guy, but the bitchiest girl in the cabin likes him, too. I should’ve made him a vampire, and I’d have had a hit on my hands.
My final camp story was never actually written, but remember planning it (I was always planning stories but only a small percentage of those actually ended up getting written, and an even smaller percentage of those actually got finished. This trend has continued into my adulthood). This was right about when my obsession with gymnastics collided with my obsession with camp, thus forming an even bigger hybrid obsession: gymnastics camp. Sadly, I will never know what adventures my characters would have at gymnastics camp, but I’m sure they would’ve been memorable.