Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Summer Madness!

We are celebrating the release of Tera Lynn Childs’ second book this week,
Goddess Book Camp with one giveaway a day, as well as chat about summer camps. Yay!

I only went to summer camp once. (Once being quite enough.) But let’s start a little further back, in the spring of 5th grade. A girl from school asked me if I’d like to attend the two-week session with her. An avid reader, I was intrigued by all the books I’d read about camp, but as a dyed-in-the-wool comfort creature, I WAS a little worried about the big outdoors and bugs and stuff. She pointed out that you could sign up to bunk with a friend, and that she’d been to camp before and would get me through.

That worked.

Until we got there and found out there were TWO girls were her exact name, and I was linked to the other. Wah! And that other wasn’t looking for friends at all...so suddenly, I was out there in the wilderness, all alone.

Just me and my vivid imagination.

I kept my chin from quivering that first afternoon, but when the counselors called my group over to the latrine, I am pretty sure I took off to my Crazy Place. See, they not only explained that we had to “do our business” in an COMMUNAL HOLE that had smells and sights and sounds (okay, maybe the last two were only in my head), but each one of us was responsible for cleaning up the area afterwards with a toilet brush. And they'd somehow know if you didn't.

Here’s the kicker: they said that anyone who dropped the brush IN the hole had to go in after it.

Okay, I’m 11. I’m alone. I’m neurotic. (I’m Tina.) I believed them.

It’s possible I didn’t go to the bathroom the entire four days I stayed at the camp. (My mother picked me up for a swim meet that my coach needed me for, and I refused to go back.)

And to this day, I kid you not, I freak out at the idea of using a PortaPotty, latrine--anything but a regular toilet. It goes past rhyme and reason and back to the counselors who are probably still snickering about tormenting the new girls...

Hmmm...I might have to put some of this in a book someday.

In the meantime, YOU can be entered to win a copy of Tera’s newest book just by leaving a comment for me here. Tell me your thoughts about summer camp, counselors, PortaPotties, latrines...any offshoot you can find from this blog.

Good luck, and the winner to be announced on Sunday.


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Liyana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liyana said...

I don't have summer camp, but the worst and probably the most exhilarating camp I've ever gone to was an overseas trip to the jungle in Malaysia. It was a school trip, but you wouldn't know it from the activities we went through.

We hiked nonstop from dawn to dusk, stayed in an age old cave where elephants used to live, slept with rats and bats, slid down a slide full of bat sh*t, hiked some more alongside some wild elephants and stayed with the Orang Asli (the natives) living in the jungle.

The worst part was when we had to make our own toilets, aka holes in the ground. Suffice to say that none of us girls went to the toilet. The boys said they just went on the path. And sadly, it rained the whole night, so it was hard to distinguish dirt from.. dirt.

Near the end of the trip at a resort, while everyone else went swimming, my friends and I snuck into the boys' toilet to bathe. Phew!

Our counsellors and teachers were totally nice, cheering us on as they hiked with us. They even carried our bags for us!

The best part? Just when we thought we were lost in the middle of nowhere, we came across a couple doing the exact same trip as us, only they were going the opposite way. :D

TinaFerraro said...

Liyana, WHAT an experience! Believe me, I shuddered over the holes in the ground...but I think you topped it with the sleeping with rats and bats part! Oh, my!

(Or, keeping in the them of Tera Lynn Childs' books this week...Oh My God!)

Katie said...

I've never went to summer camp but I always thought it would be fun. Liyana's experience sounds awesome! (except for the not being able to bathe or use the bathroom part) =P

Janie Emaus said...

I only had great experiences at Girl Scout Camp. Funny thing is...we were in the Hollywood Hills, about ten minutes from my house. And I thought I was SOOOOOO far away!

Jessica Burkhart said...

Never been to camp! As long as I wouldn't have to sleep outside in a tent, I think I would have enjoyed it. :) And if there were zero bugs. LOL.

The Golfing Librarian said...

It's nice to see someone else got "retrieved" from camp for a sporting event. I had a little league coach driv 60 miles to pick me up at scout camp so that I could play a game, then drive me back. Unlike Tina, I wanted to go back1 I loved scout camp outs and "50 milers"!

sarah said...

I was a complete dork and did orchestra summer camp. Sorry no band camp stories. The thing I hated was the powdered eggs for breakfast... ICK!

Summer said...

I went to camp like every summer since I was like 8 until like 13. It was awesome. I love summer camp. I only stayed a week and then two weeks when I was older. I went to Y camps and we rode horses and went swimming and camping outside. I always made a ton of friends and everything camperly. Crafts and acting classes. I loved being the hopper. That was the waitress for you table. You got to go inside the cafeteria early and set up. And then you had to clean up. Why was that fun for me? I don't know. It all blends together, all those days at camp, thinking the counselors were the coolest people on earth! And I learned a Whitney Houston song in sign language once. Yeah, I had a blast.

So I always wanted to be a camp counselor. In 11th grade I got to go with the 6th graders on their outdoor education thing, 3 days in the woods. I loved it. I made up a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire skit that we performed on talent night.

Then... the dream really came true when I was a camp counselor at a sleepaway camp for disadvantaged youth for a whole summer the summer before my senior year in college! It was at times great and at times really frustrating. But it was a small camp so I knew every camper and I have some great memories. My co-counselors were really fun.

I'd love to continue to work at camps but in college I always had to do internships and camp jobs well... you definitely have to be living into living the simple life I.E. they don't pay a lot! But one day I'll get back to it in some capacity.

TinaFerraro said...

Thanks, Katie and Jessica (who I personally think were wise for not going.)

Janie, this WAS a Girl Scout Camp! =)

Chuck, 50 milers, huh???

Sarah, see now, an orchestra summer camp sounds more up my alley. Maybe I should have tried that!

Summer, I wish I'd had YOU as a counselor!

Cara King said...

Janie, I think I went to the same camp as you! It had normal bathrooms. Yay! I'd have died without.

I'm a city girl, I am. (And by "city" I mean modern, first-world city.) I'm soft. :-)

Tina, if I'd been you, I think I'd have walked home the first day, no matter how far! (Extra bonus: there might have been a gas station bathroom on the way. You know you're badly off when you look forward to that!) :-)

Breanna said...

haha wow. I had a pretty good Summer camp experience. My friend had been going to this camp that was like an hour away from us for a couple years. So one year I decided I wanted to go. The only thing I was hesitant about was that it was a week long long sleepaway from home type of camp. And I was a 12-year-old who had never been away from home for more than like a day at a time by myself. So of course I was a bit freaked out.

But as soon as I got there and realized how awesome it was going to be I got over the fear of being away from home. It was such a fun experience that I had to come back the next year. There was this kick butt water slide and the lake felt so nice in the 90 degree weather. Also the midnight kitchen raids were the best! I miss Summer camp!!!! I wish I was a little kid again.


Heather Davis said...

Tina -- I was once followed to the outhouse at our resort camp in Alaska by a moose. He then blocked the trail so I had to hide out for awhile before he eventually left and I could go back to my tent. I don't know what his deal was! ;)

TinaFerraro said...

Cara, I see you and I are cut from the same cloth! ;)

Breanna, I must say that you had the camping experience I WISH I'd had. Good for you!

And Heather, the moose thing freaked me out just reading about it!

Lori T said...

I never went to summer camp, but I always imagined that it would be incredibly fun.

On the subject of portapotties...let's just say GROSS!

Amanda Villagómez said...

Wow! What a horror story. It would definitely be great for a book.

I can't think about less than ideal bathrooms without my thoughts drifting off to the rural Mexican community where my husband grew up. I love his calm, community - almost everything, except the outhouse since there is not running water yet...

My husband thought I was crazy, but one time when we were going back to our house in the city, I told my husband that I was so excited that I could be back to a regular toilet where I could sit (instead of squat) and read!

TinaFerraro said...

Lori, keep imagining the fun...for both of us! LOL.

Mrs. V., I totally understand about the "facilities" problems in other countries, having visited more rural parts of Italy and Slovenia...

Paddy said...

Awww, poor Tina!

My worst bathroom story was when I was on a trip to Greece. We were walking around Thessaloniki and I really needed to go. There was a sign in the park that said public toilet, so I went in the women's side, down the stairs, and then was horrified to discover not only was the facility a bunch of holes in the floor (with helpful footprint decals to show where your feet go), but there was umm, soil, all over the floor and half way up the walls!

Then 2 men came into the ladies room and started shouting at me that I had to pay to use the toilet! I was still standing there frozen in horror, so I just screamed and ran out. I don't think I went for 2 days after that!

Unknown said...

I went to summer camp my entire life and loved it. I now run a website at http://www.ChoiceCamps.com to help families find perfect camps. Give it another shot :)

Kate at Read This Book! said...

Ick I can't clean bathrooms, the smell makes me want to puke. I was so lucky my team wasn't assigned to clean the bathrooms!

I attended a few camps in my life so far and I don't remember most of it but I know I loved rock climbing and I was scared to death when I went absailing but it turned out to be so fun! And there was one camp where we had to go through a indoor dark maze and carried glow in the dark sticks. But the worst part was that those with glasses had to removed them so I was basically half blind. It was super fun though.

I remember once I woke up in the middle of the night and heard some girls talking. Unfortunately, they were talk about me. That really sucked. =( I didn't do anything wrong... ok except bring a big sleeping bag.

Wow Liyana, sleeping in a cave sounds cool!

TinaFerraro said...

Paddy, I love that story (and know exactly what you mean about the decals from my adventures in Europe).

Peter, thanks for visiting here with us!

Kate, it sounds like you've enjoyed your outings for the most part...and I'm a big fan of those glow in the dark sticks, too!

Me said...

Oh, Tina, that sounds awful!!! I have a very low bad-smell-tolerance. Have you been to any of the new National Parks bathrooms? They have some new system that keeps them from smelling at all! (Unfortunately, the still don't clean themselves, but at least they're bearable!)

Anonymous said...

I loved camping. I ahve gone to girl scout camp and it was amazing. i actually met one of my best friends at camp. and i loved how some of the counselors were from other countries. the only thing i hated was the bugs!

TinaFerraro said...

Tera, that new system at the National Parks sounds like a life-saver!

Kaylasenpai, sounds like you had the RIGHT kind of camping experience...right out the books I used to read. ;)

Sara said...

Uh, that's so mean! I hate portapotties too, I rather do what I need to do in the woods :P haha


Letter Garden said...

Personally, I don't like sleeping outdoors. It's really hard to fall asleep with all the spiders, bugs and mosquitos!! I'm not a child of the wilderness.

TinaFerraro said...

Thanks, Sara and Letter Garden, you sound like people after my own heart. ;)

MarjoleinBookBlog said...

ok: I must admid. I only went to camp once with school.
I remember that my sleeping matress was empty the first night because of a leak. And that it was cold and an uncomfortable little scouts bunk.
I had a sort of wish to become a usa camp counselor a few years ago. Sometimes I read stories about summer camps and they sound great! I have some information dvd''s some camps sended to me. Lots of fun to watch, especially the arts, drama and crafts camps.
I love the creativity of that kind of camps Seems like a fantastic upportunity to make new friends and have a fun summer!

Anonymous said...

I never went away to camp per se but I did go to a figure skating day camp that was about twenty minutes from my house every summer until I injured my foot three years ago and had to stop.
Unless you count hardass coaches and grueling training, it really was not that bad.
Not to mention we had awesoem facilities! I do not do portapotties. At ALL! And a hole in the ground? Eeeeewww! I would much rather go in some bushes (granted it was not poison ivy and no bears around) or a stream. But ideally a toilet that flushes please.