The Canadian Jeiwsh News

Saturday, September 5, 2015

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Summer camp nostalgia, Pt. 1

Tags: Columnists

Hello Muddah, hello Fadduh,

Here I am at Camp Granada.

Camp is very entertaining,

And they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining. [http://bit.ly/jcamp01]

Whether you grew up at Camp Massad, Camp Ramah... or Allan Sherman’s fabled “Camp Granada,” nothing can compare to those long summer days and bug-filled nights. As your kids count down the days and you finish ironing the labels, here’s a look at some summer camp memories.

Dina Fuchs owes much to her summer camp. Her existence. Dina’s parents met at a Jewish camp. And Dina continued her family’s connection when she packed up at the tender age of seven. But things didn’t start off too well: “To me, camp was like a Jewish juvenile detention center.” Eventually, things changed and now she looks back fondly.

“My camp memories still sneak up on me once in awhile. One day, I was walking to my car after a rainstorm, and I caught a whiff of that sweet grass-soaked fragrance that lingers after a summer downpour. And in that instant, I was carried back to those sleepy mornings where I stood shivering in the dewy field at Camp Judaea – standing with my hands folded behind me, singing Hatikvah.’” [http://bit.ly/jcamp02]

If you ever spent a summer at camp and want to relive those long-ago joys (and traumas), then don’t miss The Girls of Summer by Geraldine Sherman. Sherman was a camper at Camp Kawagama in the 1950s in northern Ontario. Her story begins as she and her childhood friends attend the funeral of their beloved camp director. With the help of the girls of Cabin 22, she looks at how a summer camp almost half a century away moulded who they became. Even the picture on the website of Sherman and the Kawagamite girls in their plaid shirts and broad grins will bring smiles and a touch of melancholy to anyone who’s been there and done that. [http://bit.ly/jcamp03]

Understanding what camp really is like can be daunting for parents if they never experienced it themselves. If that describes you, and your kids are about to set off, then hitch a ride with Amy Baskin. As the mother of a child at Camp George in Parry Sound, Ontario, [http://bit.ly/jcamp04] she knows the drill. In Scenes from Summer Camp, she’s written a sneak-peak tour for those who don’t:

• The camp cabin is a social microcosm where lifelong friendships are forged and every night is a slumber party. Try to ignore the lingering odour of wet towels and grubby socks.

• On canoe trips, kids experience the wonder of time slowing down. After a hard day’s paddle, a group of usually hyperkinetic 11-year-olds sit silently on a rock transfixed as a beaver swims back and forth gathering sticks for a dam.

• Kids think counsellors are like parents – only cool. [http://bit.ly/jcamp05]

Once their kids are off, their parents will fret until they get mail. Then they may fret even more. Eileen Goltz accumulated some choice letters from campers. After two weeks at camp, one postcard home started with, “My counsellor is a witch. I hate everyone in the cabin. But other than that, I’m having a great time.” [http://bit.ly/jcamp06]


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