July 15, 2015
Do you ever get that nagging feeling that you have forgotten something? All day long, a thought hovers in the recesses of your mind – constantly there but just out of reach? I had such a day yesterday.I even sat down and made a list of all the things that we do only this week, certain that my forgotten item must be among them. But this was futile. We were ready for all the big events of this week: Trojan-Spartan games (including a big one-time canoe race), meetings with Senior Campers, Lake Swims, fireworks, counselor skits, dance list, camper letters to counselors. Check, check, check, check, check, check, check.
We had even laid out the cabin assignments for the next session of camp.
This morning, it hit me.
So here I am Wednesday morning in an effort of redemption.
Last night was the one evening off that Susie and I take in the final 10 days. If you ever wonder what sort of fun does a camp director have on his/her night off, I can report that it is truly exciting.
We go to bed at 9PM. We had two excellent Lake Swims on Monday and Tuesday, with all the Aquanauts (Monday) and Maxis (Tuesday) choosing to accept the challenge. I love seeing campers who are unsure of themselves complete this swim with an expanded sense of capability, and how it can improve self confidence when finally accomplished with the help of cabinmates and counselors. What I like slightly less is the 6AM wakeup on these days. Since the typical camp evening concludes around 10:30, the early wakeup is a little hard.
So now that I have complained about both my memory and my sleep patterns, let me say that I simply love this week.
Each summer, I conduct a brief survey of all our oldest campers. I ask them a simple question: how long does each of the weeks of three week summer camp sessions feel?
The answers have been consistent for the 10 years I have done this.
The first week feels like 8-9 days, slightly longer than a real week. While this is especially for first time campers, all campers report a similar experience. The camper is feeling out the dynamics of the cabin, becoming familiar with the counselors and orienting to a life devoid of electronic devices.
The second week finds the campers in full stride. They declare that this week feel like 4-4.5 days, clearly shorter than a normal week in the “real world”. With the routine establish and the electronic umbilical cord cut, they enjoy the activities and bask in the friendships.
The final week distorts time altogether. It lasts roughly 36 hours. This is particularly odd given that the days are actually slightly longer. We have early morning activities on some days (like the Lake Swims) and later days on others (fireworks later this week), but it seems to race by.
I apologize to you parents. You enjoy no such time distortions. I have had first time camp parents tell me that each week felt like 2. Please know it gets better. The next year, each week feels like 8-10 days.
But know that your children are experiencing a wonderful time warp. They are steeped in love and fun and accomplishments.
Not a bad way to spend a 2 day week!
Want more like this? See: http://blog.campchampions.com/counselor/camp-time-is-not-normal-time