Savannah Does Camp

Savannah just finished a two-week "summer camp." The term "summer camp" brings to mind gently rippling mountain lakes, wonderfully rustic wooden docks, dented fiberglass canoes, bug spray, bugle calls, poison ivy, etc.

Savannah, however, is not yet the kind of girl that can deal with those types of things. She struggles with having her hair put in a ponytail, so you can imagine the hysterics if she saw a real, live lake monster like the one that ate this one kid one year when I was at Scout Camp. I swear. He was just fishing then, BAM!! The lake monster just ate him. Shot out like a viper. I'm not making this up. The kid's shins and tennis shoes were still there on the shoreline, rooted to the spot he was standing, except the rest of the kid was gone. I can't understand why you don't believe me.

Anyhoo, Savannah's summer camp was pretty tame. Each morning began with some coloring, followed by a "snack", which included hot dogs, burgers, french fries, artificial juice, and treats. That's not a snack. That's a Happy Meal, except without the crappy toy and sticky corner table that smells like last week's McNuggets.

After the "snack", they went for the swim in the embassy's Olympic-sized pool, then played on the playground, afterwhich they came home for the day. That's summer camp. The flyer we received that persuaded us to enroll Savannah claimed they'd do crafts and learn French. Savannah reported that nary a "le" was learned, and the only "crafts" they did was on the last day when the class went to the "Fun Factory". While the rest of the kids played on the slides, Savannah trooped off to the kitchen area by herself and made a "cake". It looked like a woodland creature dropping, but Savannah ate it for lunch that day, so it must not have been all that bad.

All in all though, it was a good experience for little Sue. She made a couple of friends and even got to the point where she didn't cry when we dropped her off in the morning. We view it as a confidence booster for our timid and sweet little daughter. She now bravely waves bye-bye to people when we leave, and occasionally whispers "Bye-bye" so quietly that no one can hear, but we see her lips moving, so that's progress.

I probably shouldn't slag on the value of this particular "summer camp" though. My first such experience was a Cub Scout "Day Camp" when I was seven, and the only thing I really learned was that I was claustrophobic. Humor me for a short story:

As I cautiously rubbed shoulders with the older and more rambunctious boys playing on the tube slide, I got stuck in the middle of the hot, reberverating, yellow tube. A pod of missing-their-front-teeth Bobcats plugged the bottom of the slide while a gaggle of older Webelos who knew how to swear properly spiritedly pushed from the top. I was one of the patsies caught in between. It was like stage-rushing at an AC/DC concert, except there was no stage, or weed, or Angus Young. I was trapped in the middle of the slide, pressed up against the inside of the tube, with some kid's grass-stained, Levi'd knee jammed against my temple, and the smell of Converse canvas and rubber mixed with juvenile sweat filling my nose.

Suddenly, this all-consuming panic -- which I now know is neatly called "claustrophobia" -- gripped me, and I went fantastically ballistic, writhing and kicking and punching and biting with a strength I wouldn't attain naturally until... well, I still don't really have it, being pretty much a lifelong weakling. I took out like half the pack. It was pretty awesome. If they gave out a merit badge for kicking the trash out of other scouts, I'd probably have it. But they don't, and that's why I never got past Tenderfoot.