August 12 – 18, 2016Vol. 18, No. 10

When a Kid Returns From Camp

by Esther J. Perne

When a kid returns from camp, whether from a day, a week, or a season, there will be single socks, someone else's sweatshirt or shoes, wet swimgear and wet whatever has come in contact with it, sticky but empty treat wrappers, something damp in the bottom of a bag that had best not be probed too thoroughly, natural treasures especially things sandy and smelly from a trip to the beach and an enhanced vocabulary — "epic," "boss," "beast," "what's good?," and terms not necessarily repeatable.

When a kid returns from camp, whether early, mid-, or late summer, there will be amazing physical growth — How do they get taller in just one day?? — and social growth, too, There will be new names of new friends not to be confused with the same names of old friends, new songs, and new games, new not-funny jokes, and new accusations of "Oh forget it. You don't understand."

When a kid returns from camp, there will be some creative eating etiquette — like fingers for everything — Everybody does it — and an increase in appetite. There will be the discovery of some items that the house has been searched high and low for. There will be many arts and crafts projects to display on shelves and walls.

Of course, when a kid returns from camp, there may be only clean clothes, carefully dried swimwear, improved table manners, perfectly matched socks and nothing lost, no foreign objects — natural or otherwise — lodged in pockets of clothing and backpacks, new friends with new names only, and a new high in politeness.

Most important, when a kid returns from camp, it's time to think and plan about next summer already, because before too long it will be time when a kid goes to camp.