As we all learned from my last post, summer camp can be the best part of summer (or at least it’s a bit more interesting than doing absolutely nothing). It can also, it some ways, prepare you for college, especially if you get to live on a college campus for a bit and learn your way around. But not all summer camps are like that; when I was younger, I went to wilderness camp every year.
Wilderness camps can also give you additional knowledge about the wonderful world we live in. For example, you might learn that eating cockroaches is gross, and kind of a bad idea. You might learn to check your canoe for leaks before you begin the white-water rapids section of the river. You might even learn that it’s wise to pack multiple sets of clothing.
In the modern world, though, a lot of people devalue summer wilderness camp. They see it as a waste of time to voluntarily remove oneself from the technology of today. Skills like kayaking and mountain climbing are totally useless, they may argue, and no one really needs to deal with that many insects. I think, though, that I still like going to camp in the middle of nowhere. I miss it. And that’s not just because it was fun.
Camp gives you a chance to learn how to take care of yourself, and makes you face your fears. For instance, at camp, participants must be able to squash bugs, hike miles upon miles uphill, eat weird food they’ve never had before that probably was frozen for several millennia by an ancient alien civilization, and handle their own problems, like when they tip over their boats and all their supplies are gone forever (yes, I’m speaking from experience here). Being able to solve problems and go with the flow (of the river that just stole your worldly possessions) really helps in life, and it definitely has helped me, at least, feel less apprehensive about college.
The idea of going to college is scary; you won’t know anyone there, nobody is there to make sure you brush your teeth, do your homework, or wear clean clothes. I guess you have to make yourself be good, and relatively clean. Going to camp has helped me prepare, though, because you don’t have anybody to baby you there, either.
So although I doubt the sanity of those who shun air conditioning in the heat of summer, and although I don’t miss the horror of seeing everything I own floating away, I’m glad I went to camp. I learned things there I wouldn’t have been able to any other way; I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to handle stuff on your own.
But not if you don’t really like bugs. And alien food. Because those are both a given.