Stoking Your Misery: 12 Summer Camp Memories That Ignite Our Prepubescent PTSD
Remember what life was like when you were just a kid figuring the world out one awkward encounter at a time? Remember how there was no better feeling than the last day of school, knowing that soon you would have an eternity of free time to do whatever the hell you wanted? That is until your mom and dad broke the news that they would be shipping you off to summer camp.
For overwrought parents (literally every parent ever), summer break was a chance to get rid of us, if only for a little while. And while that was probably the best week of the year (for them), the “good” times we had at summer camp still haunt us to this day. Enter if you dare, the wasteland of childhood summer camp memories. (Warning: may cause PTSD.)
Cover Photo: Paramount Pictures
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Shitting In An Outhouse In The Middle Of The Night
A panicky stroll through the scary dark woods is every child's rite of passage. And no matter how hard we tried to avoid it, there would be an unscheduled midnight fiesta south of the border (thanks to taco night).
Trudging through the mist with a Radio Shack flashlight so we could sit inside the odorous abyss of a timeworn outhouse taught us what it meant to hit rock bottom. Classic.
Bumping Into Staff During “Adult” Time
We will never forget the sounds emanating from the tent that night. Not all of our friends understand why we curl up into the fetal position at the sound of coyotes howling. But some do.
Why every summer camp in America encourages kids to learn the use of a deadly weapon without adult supervision is anyone's guess. (Even with adult supervision, come to think of it). Good thing there was a first-aid kit on-site with three misshapen Band-Aids in it.
When you finally returned home for the first day of school only to discover one of your classmates also had an eye patch, you would exchange that special nod, knowing he too, was a survivor.
Showering With Our Buddies Before Puberty (While Some Of Them Are Well Into It)
The preordained ascent into puberty would happen quickly for some and painfully slow for others. The random lottery of when and how (and why) that happened was part of the fun (and agony) of "growing" up. Needless to say, shower time was a mixed bag of twigs and berries, and logs and pine cones.
Being Alone On The Lake
Everything was fun and games until the dinner bell rang and you were suddenly the only person left in the water. The legend of the lake monster would quickly spring to mind, making the thought of swimming to shore terrifying.
The Cult-Like Atmosphere
Occasionally, things got a little culty. Especially when the wayward hippie counselor busted out the guitar and made everyone dance his version of the hokey pokey for the 12th time.
If it looked like an unsafe, extremely questionable activity, chances were...all the kids were about to do it. Whether it be a makeshift swing, a haphazard ropes course, or an amateur rock climbing wall, the counselors had to fill our time somehow.
Strange Rustling In The Night
We still wake up in a cold sweat remembering those long nights spent clutching our pen knife. Was it a bear? A serial killer? Or one of our camp counselors high on LSD? We'll never know.
Getting Our Sister's Sleeping Bag Mixed Up With Ours
How is it possible we packed the wrong sleeping bag? Because dad was in charge of packing the car and the game was on.
Getting Drunk On Cheap Gin
Somehow, someone would get a hold of some liquor stashed inside an old boot and the kid that ate too much at dinner would end up puking in the tent. To this day, the smell of berry juice gives us the shivers.
Eating It In Front Of Everyone
Whether accidental or through a coordinated pranking effort, losing face in front of your fellow campers was a death knell for your reputation. Recovery was all but impossible. It would take fending off a bear or scoring a camp counselor's underwear to regain your footing in the social strata.
Getting Roped Into A Network Of Boy Scout Meth Dealers Via A Seedy Counselor
We really could have done without the honorary meth badge, but thanks, camp counselor Dave, for teaching us life skills we could take back to the city with us.
You survived a week at summer camp and all you got were these lousy memories. Still, it could be worse. You could have spent the week at Aunt Edna's.
Next Time On Summer Camp Memories...
Learning to deal with bears.