Summer camp… fun or horrible??

Boy embarrassed camp siteI’ve been listening to parents say they are sending their kids to summer camp. Some kids are excited and others reminded me of myself (WHY do I have to go???).

Here’s a funny story from one camp I went to.

Upon arrival, we were greeted and toured the camp. That night after dinner we were told how FUN our experience would be. We sang some “rah, rah” songs to build team spirit and then the Camp Counselor explained that every day we needed to check the board to see what our camp duties were. Taking care of the “camp site” was part of team building.

Inevitably, we all got KP Duty (Kitchen Patrol). That meant we were responsible for serving campers their food, cleaning the tables, taking the dishes/glasses to be cleaned, stacking chairs on top of tables, sweeping, etc. Anything to do with preparing and cleaning the dining hall, so it was left in “pristine” condition for the next meal.

I think we KNOW that when counselors say camp is going to be FUN, that is a code word for “be prepared” for “anything and everything” to possibly happen – good or bad!

My first night there I was on KP Duty. Everything was going fine when loud thunder struck. I heard banging on the tables, loud singing and a camper looking embarrassed and running around one of the tables. This was horrible, WHAT was going on?!

An older camper explained. The camp leaders had a song they would sing if they caught you eating with your ELBOWS on the table. BAD NEWS if that happened. A camper would be “innocently” eating their hot dog when suddenly at the top of their lungs, the camp leaders would point to the camper who had their elbows on the table and start singing this song:

“Elbows, elbows on the table, this is not a horses stable, but a first class dining table!”

(ROUND the table you must go, you must go, you must go, round the table you must go, YOU WERE NAUGHTY!)

As the poor camper was running around the table and being humiliated, the ENTIRE group of campers would be clapping, singing and poking at the camper.

This was considered, “FUN.”

Did I put my elbows on the table… by accident, YES! Did I suffer humiliation, YES!  Did I enjoy going to the cafeteria, NO! But admittedly, it sure did cure all of us from putting our elbows on the table, because we were too busy trying to catch some else at it.

AND to this day, I still remember the words to that song!

Summer camp — NOT FOR ME!

Come on… I KNOW you’ve got a story to share… the COMMENT section is waiting for you!

Let’s all have a laugh!


26 thoughts on “Summer camp… fun or horrible??

  1. Love this! What a funny story! I will have to remember that song and try it out on my kids! I look forward to reading more of your stories. I love to hear about other families and their traditions!

    Tallulah x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved summer camp as a child, but I also begged to go to boarding school when I was 8 yrs old. I wanted to travel, to have new experiences, to start seeing the world. (My poor parents!)

    Now, as the mom of two boys, I travel with them often. They already get to see new places.

    My older son was reluctant to go to camp, but he’s a born homebody. (My brother was that type, and so is my husband.) He is educated at home instead of attending school, so I do feel it is a benefit to his development to attend some camps/classes with other children.

    I found “family week” at a language immersion camp, so we first attended camp TOGETHER. Fun, and educational, for both of us. This year, I did push him to go to a second week on his own, after family week. MOSTLY, I want his German to improve. As it happens, he said sleepaway camp was more fun than family camp.

    If you want to read about family week at Concordia Language Villages German immersion camp, you can see my posts here:

    My husband emigrated from the former Soviet Union, and he doesn’t like the idea of summer camp much, either. He’s very close to his family. Is this a cultural tendency, do you think, to distrust letting the kids go away? Americans tend to view “independence” as the ultimate positive character trait…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your message. My ex/husband’s side of the family is German. I find the Germans promote independence much more than the Americans in different ways. Part of this is culture, part of this is the “type” of family you grow up in and what “they” were taught as children. Some children like yourself “wanted” to go away, others prefer to be more of a creature of comfort. In that case, it comes down to personality too. I’m off to visit your site, it sounds VERY interesting!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s wonderful! I think a day camp during the summer would be fun. You are part of the day away with friends and the rest of the day at home, this is perfect. I agree with you, it would allow you to make long lasting friends. This particulate camp was a “sleep away” camp, so it was a bit different. Thank you for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My brother and male cousins came with us to the same camp. As they were boys and older then us, they escaped the camp several times and they did every naughty things possible (today they are decent men). The problem was that the camp belonged to my mother’s employer company, so she was rather angry with them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for giving me a “good laugh.” I have a twin brother, he was the same as your brothers… always getting into mischief!! Now that we are older his mischief has given us some “funny stories” to remember!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That sounds pretty mean, I’m sure I’d have absolutely hated to be in such a situation haha
    I’ve never been to a summer camp, so the only things I imagine of them are what I’ve seen in movies, and your story fit right into that xD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh… there were FUN parts to summer camp. It’s like being in school, we always have the good stories sprinkled in with the stories of children who want to be mean. Also, it is all about meeting some nice friends, just like in school, that makes all the difference when we are young, right. Thanks for stopping by. I DID learn not to put my elbows on the table while I was eating! That was good. 🙂


  4. Lolol… I didn’t love summer camp but to be fair I’ve only ever been to one. I want to host one, for this very reason though, the absence of the fun parts in their claims that it would be. I remember sending my son to a camp, I’ll tell yah they sure caught me with their fancy flyers, they outlined all the fun stuff that the kids will have to do. I was like Yayyyyy, I was so excited for the fun he would have. Well long story short…that didn’t happen and I am still hurting from the chunk of change I had to cough up to enroll him in this ‘fantastic’ camp.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, it’s true, but in defense of Summer Camp, some of them are really good. I think the main part of summer camp is to give the child a chance to be away from home, meet new children, learn to do different activities, all of this builds independence and character. I think summer camp can be good. I was just more of a homebody. If I had been more social like my twin brother, it would have been better, but this was just girls, so I could not follow him around and let him do all the goofing around/talking, etc. 🙂 He still talks more than me.


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