Opie returns…

Greetings from Camp!

Yesterday was our first Cruiser Day of the second session. As you may know, Cruiser Day is the one day each week when we completely trash our predictable daily schedule, a schedule that we have worked hard to institute so that the boys have a sense of structure and normalcy in what might otherwise be an unsettling experience….being away from home for the first time. But, on Cruiser Days, everything is different. Our projects are cancelled and the villages or cabins come together to participate in some sort of themed day.

Yesterday these themes ranged from Cowboys vs. Pirates in the Swamper Village.  GI Joe(y Rivkin….one of our Logger counselors) Day in the Logger Village.  Tax Evasion Day for the Axemen (weird…I know….but so are Axemen!).  And Water Day with the Lumberjacks.  But, truth be told, given that it was another really warm day here, all four of these days morphed into Water Day with the boys spending as much time in the water as possible.  I spent virtually the entire day down at the waterfront helping with coverage and got to see all the boys LOVING being at the waterfront….But since I spent all of the last update extolling the virtues of our waterfront, I will have to leave it at that…..

And then, of course, everyone headed down into the village of Lake Nebagamon for a Dairy Queen treat. And what better way to cap off a family day than with a walk into town to the Dairy Queen.

The way that Cruiser Day is structured, I suppose, is sort of like the way that I, as a parent, fantasized that weekends would be with my family. The dream went like this. On Friday evenings we would all sit down together with the world as our oyster, and plan out the most exciting family days imaginable for the weekend. (Unless, of course, the Bears were playing, in which case a seminar in football appreciation would be our sole activity on Sunday.) We would have a fun-filled weekend full of perfect activities and top it off by a carefree trip to the neighborhood ice cream shop. Well, given that I work seven days a week all summer precluding a DQ jaunt, and that in the off season the nearest Dairy Queen to our house is about five miles away from my house in a strip mall, that fantasy seems about as likely on a regular basis as getting my family to eat raw oysters!

I was struck yesterday by how fortunate our guys are at camp. Here they get to live that fantasy Mayberry life that seems so unrealistic these days. (Please tell me that the Mayberry reference makes sense….that I am not so old that our parent body no longer shares the experience with me of sitting home from school on a sick day with nothing to watch but Andy Griffith, Petticoat Junction, and Love American Style!) They can grab their best friends, make up a silly day about Cowboys, Pirates, and GI Joe(y) And then they can, as a family, take an evening walk into town to the retro Dairy Queen, with the walk up window and the ancient neon sign, just to get an ice cream cone, sit around on a bench and plan the next day.  Pretty great stuff….

Perhaps camp is Mayberry. Perhaps that is why this generation sends us their kids. They grew up watching reruns of Mayberry and wishing that place for themselves…and if not for themselves, for their kids. (While I am certainly as funny as Barney Fife, I am not nearly as good looking!)  I admit, I am a little worried about what camp will look like after this generation grows up and is looking to share their television neighborhoods of Love Island and Big Brother with their kids. It will mean some changes around here…..but for now, Mayberry seems pretty good.

All is well in the North Woods….