9 Things I Learned At Summer Camp, Besides How To French Kiss

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//Parent Trap Fencing Lindsay Lohan


In case you didn't notice, there are two brand new camp shows airing this week: NBC's scripted comedy Camp and USA's reality show Summer Camp. Not since Bug Juice premiered, have I been this excited to watch TV. Obviously the premiere of two camp shows in one week has me reminiscing about my own camp experience.  I did eight summers at an all girls camp in the woods of Maine. I can look you in the eyes right now and say that I am the person I am today because of that experience. If I hadn't gone to camp, how long would it have taken me to learn milk, milk, lemonade, around the corner fudge is made? Years. Looking back now, I can't imagine surviving 3rd grade without that valuable knowledge. And that's not the only thing I learned at camp, far from it. So in no particular order, here are the 9 most important things I learned at sleepaway camp.

1. Newcomb is not a real sport. 

While I've never excelled at activities that involve hand-eye coordination, quick thinking or the ability to send a ball in a specific direction,  I picked up newcomb pretty easily. Catch, catch, catch, throw over the low net.  In fact I picked it up so easily that I walked around camp with quite the newcomb swagger.

Yeah that girl you saw catching the large ball on the newcomb court? That was me. Yep, I am only 14. I don't know if I want to pursue it professionally yet, but maybe.

You can imagine my shock when I returned to school, pointed to the newcomb court in the gym, asked the coach where I could sign up to be captain of the team and was told that it's actually a volleyball court and catching is 100% not allowed. I had one sport that I excelled at and it turned out to be completely made-up.

2. Everyone's lying about their sexual experiences

Okay, fine, maybe not everyone. But I definitely did. Let me set the scene for you. We're in an old barn with a bunch of tween boys who got shipped over for the night from a nearby boys camp. I'm wearing flared jeans, a spaghetti strap tank tank and a triple A bra that I insisted  my mother buy me in case my boobs grew over the summer. Blue Da Bee Dee is blasting over the speakers. I ask Daniel if he's ever kissed anyone before. He's like “um, duh, what about you?” I look at him as if he the world's biggest idiot, “look Daniel, I'm 13, I just completed my Bat Mitzvah year, I've obviously touched a boy before. On the lips, with my lips. Our lips touched on purpose, ugh Daniel, you're such a juvenile. Kiss me you fool.” We kissed, with tongue. It was my first time. Which is why I got overexcited and licked his cheek.

3. Archie will always treat Betty and Veronica like shit

Please spend 8 summers reading about Archie's love triangle with Betty and Veronica and try to tell me that he's not the world's biggest douchebag. Also, Betty, Veronica, grow a backbone and find someone else to crush on. It's honestly embarrassing how low you set the bar for yourselves.

4. There's a very valid reason for the no candy rule

As you probably remember from watching the moving documentary Heavy Weightscamps don't like you to have candy in the bunk. And it turns out that it's not because a bunch of dentists are paying them off. Actually what happens when you have candy in the bunk is that animals also come into your bunk. If you're the rebel who decides to hide a lollipop in your backpack, you're also the asshole who led an entire family of ants to live in the bunk. So thanks for nothing to the family member who snuck me that lollipop in a package.

5. Hiking will not kill you

Despite what I told counselor after counselor after counselor as I trudged up hill after hill after hill, hiking will not kill you. Excessive sweat is not a sign of an impending heart attack and being out of breath does not mean you're allergic to reaching the peak. The fact that I'm still alive is a testament to that statement.

6. You can sing about everything

Literally everything. And everyone. No action is too insignificant for a song. Not picking up trash after dinner and not for pizza night and not for saying goodbye to someone you met six minutes ago.  While I left camp before someone wrote a song about peeing, I'm 110% sure that one exists now.

7. It is possible to roll your Soffe shorts too high

You know what, I look back at photos and I regret that triple roll. No need to do that, no need at all. My apologies to everyone who saw my underbutt.

8. Your parents don't like it when you send home blank envelopes

So here's the weird thing about parents. When they spend thousands of dollars to send you away for eight weeks, they expect you to communicate with them. In fact they expect it so much that camp has required letter writing days where you have to write home. And they get irrationally upset when you send home an envelope filled with nothing. I don't get it, but I do know it to be true based on my dad pulling me aside on one fateful visiting day and asking why I thought it was okay to send him home a blank mad libs. God forbid I want him to use his brain and think of a few creative adverbs.

9. No one at home cares about camp

The most important lesson you can learn at camp is that no one at home cares. Not one soul. Do your parents indulge you by listening to a hilarious story about the time your canoe filled up with water in the middle of the lake? Sure. But are they then rushing and off calling their friends and saying, “Beth, you've got to hear this story that Jenni just told me about the time she wore her shirt inside-out on purpose, yes on purpose, to lunch.” No. No they are not. And you know who cares even less. All of your friends who did not go to camp. They won't even indulge you. Not even if the story involves tampons and flashlights and a fort. So don't even bother talking about it to anyone who didn't go, they won't get it.