As the winter chill fades into a warm breeze and students shed their drab jeans for colorful shorts, it’s almost time for them to return to their home away from home. Sleepaway camp.
Heading off to the carefree environment of camp is the cornerstone of summer vacation for many students.
“After stress for ten months, the two months of camp is an escape from reality,” Daisy Laska ’16 said. As many campers say, “I live 10 months for two.”
Unfortunately, the activities, socials, and bonding that makes summer camp so special have come to an end for students too old to return, usually those entering their junior or senior year. Now, they must cling to their memories and find new ways to fill the void that their cherished years at camp has left behind.
“It’s the worst feeling knowing I can’t go back,” Laska said. After seven summers at Camp Vega in Maine, she struggles to stay motivated in school when she’s not returning to her beloved summer getaway.
“Usually by this time of year, the only thing getting me through school is looking at my camp countdown,” Laska said. “Not having a camp to look forward to kills me.”
For Staples juniors, it’s goodbye cabins and hello dorms, as many spend their summer away from camp preparing for college life.
“Long Lake was like a second home to me, but I feel like there’s a lot more focus on college the summer going into senior year,” said Jacob Nadel ’15, an ex camper at Long Lake Camp for the Arts who will do a pre college program at Washington University this summer. “I’ll never forget playing the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors. I’m devastated to not be going back.”
Juliet Kimble ’15, who will spend this summer at a pre-college program at Carnegie Mellon University, agrees that her summer involves more focus on the future than her fun-filled years at Long Lake Camp.
“Last summer, I did Rocky Horror and played Janet, and that went down as the best show in the history of camp,” Kimble said. “This summer is serious work; it’s more focused on what you want to do in life.”
Although she won’t be lugging her duffel bags back to the campground, Laska won’t let the end of her time as a camper stop her from spending yet another unforgettable summer with her camp friends.
“I guess because I’ve been going to camp for so long, I’ve grown so close to everyone there. This year I’m going on a teen tour with my camp friends. Mine’s in Italy,” Laska said excitedly.
Yet, while Kimble feels she is going to miss the grassy hills of camp, she is confident to take on what’s ahead.
“I understand that it was time for me to leave, and I think I’m prepared for bigger, better things now because of camp,” Kimble said. “The point of camp is to be your safety blanket and prepare you for the world and I think it did that. That place literally made me the person I am today.”