What REALLY Goes On at Sleepaway Camp These Days – A Mom Tells All

Jenny From the Bunk is Going Back to Camp and Telling AllI have a confession, well I should call it an announcement, but it feels more like something I must divulge in a hat, glasses and a wig … I’m following my kids 1000 miles away, to sleep away camp.

Oh, you read that correctly, Jenny from the Blog, a 40 something Gen X mom, is going back to camp with her kids in a series called: JennyFromTheBunk – I Followed My Kids to  Sleepaway Camp – Now What? (hashtag #JennyFromTheBunk) I toyed around with One Crazy Summer – A Neurotic Mom Goes Freakin’ Crazy And Goes to Camp Too, but the coinciding hashtag would be too long. I’m pretty sure I made the right choice. Plus, the first name has “Now What” in it, and that’s really the big question…

Well, there are lots of questions and I intend to answer them all during a summer of spying, avoiding bugs and pretending I can relive my youth. Here are just a few:

  • Why would anyone ever do this on purpose?
  • Are there bugs at camp these days?

  • Will my house fall apart without me?
  • Will my husband cheat on me … or worse eat steak and cake every night and need to be cut out of our bedroom when I return?
  • Will I fall in love with a counselor that has an awesome accent and leave my hubs for the glamorous life of being the with the guy who works the rock wall at fairs in Great Britain?
  • Will my pets survive without me – my husband has already asked where he can buy fish that look like Ryan’s (so I know they’re goners). Will I survive without my cat (yes I’m that person).
  • Can I pull off Soffe shorts with the tops rolled over?
  • Can I survive doing what the campers and staff do, like, pass the lake test? Make it through the ropes course? Let go on the zipline? Get up on water-skis? Survive a day working in the infirmary? Not fall asleep, being on OD? Wear flats?
  • Will I make it through a summer without Big Brother? What if it’s an all star cast, again? Could I miss that?
  • Is there a Starbucks on the premises? Will there be lattes? Will I survive without a green colored smoothie? 
  • How will I know what goes best with morning announcements — a wedge or a stiletto?
  • Am I supposed to ignore my kids when I see them?
  • Will I get dirty playing mud football on a rainy day?
  • Will I get eaten by a bear?
  • Will I be able to do staff skits or talents shows? Is sarcasm a talent?
  • Can I dress as something inconspicuous and spy on my kids who I’ve told I will give independence? Like maybe I could dress as a cook or a bush or a basketball???
  • Am I still a tetherball, ping-pong and jacks champion that I paint myself to be in my selective memory?
  • If there’s Chinese jump rope, will I remember how to do it? And will I pee a little on the floor of a girls bunk, every time I land and blame it on one of the other kids?
  • Will my daughter Ry (the child with the attitude pretend not to know me if we pass each other) and send me to my cabin to cry quietly?
  • Will I find out what really goes on at camp and whether my nervousness about parting with my kids is founded or just based on crazy helicopter mom tendencies brought on by my adult onset   combo of ADD, OCD and generalized anxiety disorder, which DSM IV calls GXPD (Gen X Parenting Disorder).
  • Are the things that worry me even founded? Like are the kids actually supervised? Are counselors aware of bullying?  Are kids left to cry when they’re homesick, like some horrible version of tween ferberizing? Do the kids run on rocky terrain in flip-flops while sucking on hard candies?
  • Do the photographers make the kids smile in pictures to make sure the kids look like they’re having fun, but really they’re being forced to make fake Nikes and Reeboks to sell on the black market?
  • Do the camp pictures really load that slowly or is there some evil techie on the other side twisting his handlebar mustache as he puts in one picture every 47 seconds?
  • Can I take a two minute shower? (It’ll be hard only because I tend to forget what I’ve already washed and redo stuff. Maybe a waterproof checklist.)
  • Will I get all the crappy jobs on the chore wheel?
  • Is there someone in the laundry who purposely shrinks their clothes and switches them into other kid’s bags.
  • Is the fact that I’m living with 6 women (I don’t know) in a cabin in the woods the beginning of The Real Housewives of Camp Lenox, an MTV Real World – Camp Edition, or a horror movie?
  • Is camp these days even remotely similar to the way it was when I was a kid?
  • Will you follow the series and see what kind of humor, sentiment, Gen X nostalgia, anarchy and craziness ensues? Please.

To follow along make sure you’re a fan on Facebook page and twitter and if you’re on Pinterest or Instagram (I’ll surely have some doozies to post). And please take a sec to share this with any friends who’ve been to camp, have (had or will one day) have kids in camp, or people who like the humor in the unknown.

RELATED POST: Gen Xers — You Know You Were a Camper If…

XO – Jenny From The Blog Bunk

16 thoughts on “What REALLY Goes On at Sleepaway Camp These Days – A Mom Tells All

  1. Karen Baitch Rosenberg

    You will be awesome! Good luck taking warm showers, and don’t forget to write! Are you ironing or sewing your name labels into your underwear?…. Xo

    Reply
    1. Fred in Colorado

      Ok, stalker mom. How do you sew/iron a name tag into/onto a G-string? This question brought to you by the queries of Karen.

      Reply
  2. Kim Murphy~Missouri

    What a perfectly timed report for me. I have sent my youngest off for the first time to a week long sleep away camp. I have been on pins and needles each day waiting by my computer each day for yesterdays camp pictures to post. I quickly scan through them to find my little angel and to see if she is smiling. So far her grin has been ear to ear, but as you stated I obsess about is it ‘a real smile’ or a forced one. So far it has rained 4 out of 4 days that she has been there, what could they possibly be doing to make this fun for them. I know that a lot of what they do is in the water and they are already wet. But come on rain is cold this time of year here in Missouri. More power to you for taking this on, I know I would have already wussed out after the 4th rainy day. There is only so much mud I can take. Looking forward to more reports from you on camp life! Stay dry!

    Reply
  3. Elisa

    I don’t know about you, but as a Gen X going to Jewish overnight camp, we didn’t have jet skis or zip-lines. I fondly remember the entire having to sit around the campfire each night for sing along’s and a full size Goldberg’s Peanut Chew for snack. Oh yeah, and the open room showers. So important for a 13 year old overweight girl’s self esteem.

    Oh, and I don’t know what a soffee short is. Rhymes with coffee.

    Reply
  4. Jake

    I can vouch for Camp Lenox NOT being a sweat shop (or at least it wasn’t 25 years ago when I was there, but I suppose labor prices in China and India have been on the rise, so you never know). I’m looking forward to seeing how camping goes for you; I had such a great time there as a kid. Does Rich Moss still run it (it was him and Coach when I was there)?

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Sending Kids To Sleepaway Camp Could Make a Mom Insane

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