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Not that I pay any more attention to Father’s Day than to Mother’s Day, but I couldn’t help smiling at the thought that I spent the bulk of yesterday getting rid of two of the gels for two weeks.  That’s your comic irony right there.

Yes, yesterday began the now-annual jaunt up to Summer’s Best Two Weeks, or “SB2W” as the cogniscenti call it.  We, in our lighter moments, also often refer to it as Bible-Thumpers’ Camp, because it was founded by the Presbyterians and its stated mission is “building Christian character through competitive athletics”.  Most of the camp counselors are kids from solid evangelical schools like Grove City College.  Every one of the campers is placed on either the “Roman” or the “Galatian” team, on whose behalf they spend the two weeks going head to head.  There also is daily Bible-study and prayer.  You get the idea.

(Now before anyone gets riled up, let me reassure that we kid because we love.  The motto of the place is “God first, others second, self third” and they put it into practice in just about every aspect of the program.  Who on earth can have any objection to that?)

Of course, it’s also plain, old-school camp.  The place sits on a lake way out in the middle of nowhere.  The campers bunk 12 to a cabin in fairly primitive conditions.  There’s sailing and kayaking and swimming, zip-lines, crafts, campfires and all the rest of it.  I never did camp when I was a kid, but I must say it looks like an awful lot of fun.

Oh, and another nice thing is that “helicopter parents” need not apply to this place.  No email, no telephone, no mid-term visits.  Once you help the kiddies stow their gear, you are very politely but very firmly made aware that your presence is no longer required.

As I staggered in under the weight of their duffels (Mrs. R packs the gels off under the assumption that neither of them is going to do any laundry the entire term), I had to smile a bit.  The eleven year old, who rules the roost at home, had a look of vague apprehension on her face because she didn’t know any of her cabin-mates.  I was quite touched with pity and simply sat with her for a bit without really saying anything.  After a while she assured me that she would be alright and I could leave, but I know it will take her a couple days to come out of her shell.  The nine year old, meanwhile,  who seems to know practically everyone, settled in happy as a clam, glomming on to several old friends and, when I left, busily usurping the bunk assignments in her cabin so as to arrange herself and her friends in what she considered the optimal order.

We took the seven year old along for the ride and to let her check the place out.  She starts next summah.  God help them all.


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June 2009