Foot_wash.jpgThis sign was featured in a bathroom at a temple in Thailand. When I saw it, I had a clear response – I bet there is an interesting story that led to the creation of that sign.


Oddly enough, thinking about this sign made me wonder about our own house during camp and the odd detritus that appears. What would a stranger think about the signs and items that litter our home?


With this in mind, I attempted to look around as if I were 1) a sane person that 2) had no idea what camp is about. [Note: there is a LOT of overlap between those two categories.]


Here is the initial list:

  • 3 foot sign with the words “United Front” painted in blue and red.
  • Three different types of Frisbees (one for disk golf, one for Ultimate, one for casual tossing)
  • A tennis racquet with a hornet in the strings.
  • Three easels with architectural renderings.
  • A felt rhino hat.
  • Fake silk fortune cookies in fake takeout containers.
  • Container of canine anti-nausea medication
  • Soon-to-be-cleaned up dog vomit.
  • 85 red and blue laundry bags
  • A set of swim goggles with the lens painted silver.
  • One jewelry box with children’s teeth in it.


I suspect that an archeologist would not be able to successfully explain these items, but I can.


The sign is there to remind our leadership team that we are one unit. We can debate how to handle things, but once we reach a conclusion, we become a “United Front” and all act as if the decision was all our own idea.


The Frisbees make sense, but not quite why they are in the house and not in the field.


We discovered that we have a nest of ground hornets outside our home. These insects are about 1 inch long and hang out in our backyard. I have discovered that they become a great way to practice my backhand. I am embarrassed to admit that this is quite satisfying.


The easels display our plans for next year’s mega-project. I will share more on this later, but I can tell you now that we plan to build the best camp arts facility this side of New York state.


The rhino hat was part of my monster costume that I did not quite get back to our costume closet. We got it at a boutique in Istanbul.


The fake fortune cookies are part of Susie Ma’am’s Friendship Games. She puts special questions in them to spark fun conversations. Among the favorites: “If you could choose any animal head to go on your body, what would it be?”


I am guessing that you can figure out the connection between the canine anti-nausea meds and the dog vomit.


We provide special laundry bags for our campers. They are designed so that the entire load of laundry can be washed without taking anything out of the bag. Blue is for boys and red is for girls.


I have no idea why the swim goggles have their lenses painted silver. We had a “gold dance”, but not a silver dance. They are clearly useless for swimming or eye-protection.   Yet someone went through the time and trouble to paint them. Why? I am flummoxed and baffled.


Perhaps the most disturbing item (the teeth) has the sweetest explanation. Susie Ma’am, like so many moms, saves mementos of our children. Whenever they lost a tooth, the Tooth Fairy would deliver the requisite coins and Susie Ma’am would put the tooth into a jewelry box. Kinda creepy? Maybe, but it comes from love. But why would it be in the main part of the house? Occasionally, a camper will lose a tooth during camp. We do not want to supplant the home version of the Tooth Fairy, but we also want to acknowledge the event. As a result, the “Champ Fairy” will leave a gift. But unlike the Tooth Fairy, the Champ Fairy leaves the tooth behind (so that the camper can bring it home to you). About once every 3-4 years, a counselor will lose the tooth. As you can imagine, this is a problem without an obvious solution. UNLESS you have a jewelry box with extra teeth. So some campers have returned home with teeth that are not actually their own.


You can tell me if that is sweet or creepy.


Steve Sir