This One Time at Summer Camp
by Lisa Burstein
I am writing about my summer camp experience this Throwback Thursday because the “CAMP” that Ben and Cassie attended is absolutely based on the sleep away camp I went to from 6th grade to my Freshman year of high school. My memories of that time are pretty great, so when writing The Possibility of Us, which is about the aftermath of a relationship that started at a rehab wilderness program, I used the skeleton of the camp I went to. I used it like a map. It was helpful to be able to picture my camp, Camp Eagle Cove in the Adirondacks of New York State as I wrote. I thought it might be fun to share some pictures and make a list of all the firsts of mine that happened at camp. These didn’t all happen the same year 😉
My first kiss (not great, but the first one)
My first time riding a horse (which became something I loved for the rest of my life)
My first time getting drunk (ditto as above- LOL)
My first time crying over a boy (and second and third and fourth)
My first time away from my parents for more than a week (this really helped me figure out who I was without them)
My first time getting to a base other than first (ironically this happened in a baseball dugout at night)
My first time water skiing (I fell on my ass)
My first time going after a younger man (he was the little brother of the guy who I had first cried over, I realized my mistake and retreated quickly)
My first time understanding what true friends are (I still know some of them)
There are so many more firsts and lasts and in-betweens that happened in my years at sleep away camp. And even though I was in a much different camp situation than Cassie and Ben had been in, I learned more about myself during those summer weeks, than I did during the rest of the year. Like them, being in the wilderness, stripped of my real life helped turn me into who I am. In The Possibility of Us, they are forced to face that reality.
I’d love to hear about some of your camp or summertime firsts!
Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University. She is also the author of Pretty Amy, The Next Forever and Dear Cassie. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats.
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I wish I can go camping one day. It sounds like a lot of fun…
I wish we had camp like you did when we were growing up. We didn’t and I would love to had some of those firsts. Thanks for sharing.
We don’t have summer camps here and how I wish we do. It sounds really cool, especially if you get to experience those fun ‘firsts’.
I’ve always wanted to go to summer camp but we don’t have any over here 🙁
Ahhh summer camp. We had a HUGE problem with racoons. Our tents were on platforms because of them. One night, I stepped outside my tent and saw at 10-15 of them in a line formation making their way through our campsite. CREEPY!!!!! I went right back inside and staked out on my cot!
The only sleep away camping I did was with my girl scout troop. I do remember we camped at Disney’s Fort Wilderness it was so nice there. We got to go pick what activity we did first and it was going out on the river in pedal boats. Well of course my luck me and my friend get stuck when the boat decides to stop working. We had to get out and bring the boat to shore. Thankfully the water was real shallow and even more thankfully we ended up right by the main road. Somehow we were gone for an hour but the rest of the trip was so cool. One night was movie night and we were visited by Chip and Dale. And at the petting zoo there was a white peacock walking around. I definitely want to go there again.
I never had the chance to go to a camp because my parents won’t allow me. But thank you for sharing this and it’s good that you learned something from your trips.
I loved camp when I was younger I think it helped me get out of my awkward-shy stage:-)