Day 64: The Evolution of a Camp Kid

I was a camp kid.

But we'll get to that in a minute.

We had a potential buyer for our house return today for another look so we (again) headed to my in-law's to take over their house for a few hours while our house was being shown. Amy took the kids for a swim while I plugged in my laptop to get through some more work in preparation for next week's return to reality. Less that fifteen minutes later, I was in the pool myself. As I sat there checking graduation progress for my students based on their grades from this past spring, I could see Amy and the kids through the window and quickly realized that I've got the next ten months to work. No way should I be wasting away my last few days of summer like that.

There was a possibility that we'd go to an outdoor screening of Big Hero 6 at the Illini's Memorial Stadium later in the evening, but as the day progressed, Charlotte started feeling a little bit crummy again so we stayed home instead -- having our own screening of the movie.

With the kids in bed, Amy and I watched the remaining five episodes of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. My opinion from yesterday hasn't changed in the least. It was awesome. Makes we really want to go back and watch old episodes of The State.

Watching these episodes, in a lot of ways, brought back memories of my own days at camp. While the camp I attended regularly as a kid was a church camp and provided quite a different experience than Camp Firewood, it was camp nonetheless.

The friendships. The fun. The lifelong memories.

My first opportunity to go to camp came in the summer of 1985 when I would have been entering the fourth grade. Over the next eight years, I would find myself spending over half of my summer break at camp in every role from camper to kitchen helper to faculty for the younger campers.

No doubt. I was a camp kid.

A group photo was taken at each week of camp. While I didn't take home a picture at every week I was a part of, I still have all of the photos that I did. Let's take a look at the 8+ year evolution of a camp kid.

[If you're viewing this on a phone, you'll probably want to turn it sideways for a wider view. For any camp friends who may be reading this, feel free to click on each of the pictures below for the full image. You're sure to recognize a lot of old friends!]

First time at camp. For Salem readers, there's Dave Burnett on the left. (1985)
Old enough to start staying for a full week. (1986)
Having just finished 7th grade, I brought some friends along this time. (1989)
I wore a vest. (1990)
I wore a vest twice. (1990)
Wind-blown mullet. Puka shell necklace. (1990)
Getting cooler with the shades. (1991)
Even cooler with shades and no smile. (1991)
Paisley shirt buttoned to the top. Awesome. (1991)
Forgot how skinny I used to be. (1992)
"Parental Advisory" shirt. Starting to test some boundaries, I suppose. (1992)
Skinny tie. Perfect. One of the best weeks I ever had at camp! (1992)
I had the hipster side-part long before hipsters had the side-part. (1992)
Look out! Silk shirt and tie! (1993)
Remember how colorful the mid-90s were? (1993)
Speaking of colors, how about Cross Colors? (1993)
I think I'm wearing at least two, if not three, beaded necklaces. (1993)
HEY-YO! Peroxide + sunshine + bowl cut = this guy. (1994)

Sure. I was a bit of a knucklehead then and I admit that I still am now. But I owe a lot to this camp.

A lot.

And I'm grateful for that.

It would take me weeks to recount the memories I have of my days at camp -- some of the greatest memories I've got. It certainly wasn't Camp Firewood. It was Oil Belt.

And it was amazing.

The Summer of Tim continues...

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