The password for today is I’m a Campoholic.
My name is Lady Pam and I’m an addict. My addiction is camp. I’ve had it for 19 years and I just can’t seem to kick it. I thought that I had it licked last year, when I hadn’t worked at camp for the last two summers. Sure, I had a relapse or two, in a few visits here or there, but I really thought my days of euphoria from camp were in my past. Now, here I am again, feeding my addiction with spontaneous camp songs, dressing up as a Disney character, or dressing down in clothes I would never wear together at home, playing Roofball with the intensity of an Olympic sport, and laughing at things only camp people would find hysterically funny.
Many say I am crazy, a woman my age leaving my husband at home to fend for himself for the whole summer, spending two months with children, when I should be taking a break from them after teaching junior high schoolers all year long. Shouldn’t a middle aged woman have outgrown camp by now? But this addiction is like no other. Just the sight of Laurel Lake and that green metal dock makes me crave that gloriously intoxicating feeling that only being at Fleur de Lis can give me. It’s the best kind of addiction and I’m one of the few people my age that are lucky enough to have it.
No doubt being a kid at camp allows one to experience freedom, silliness, fun, and a carefree week or two without the stress that being at home or school can bring. But that’s what kids are supposed to do during the summer. For me, an adult with a family, I’m supposed to be the responsible one, cleaning my house, feeding my family, taking care of households chores, paying bills. My addiction, however, takes me away from these responsibilities temporarily and I become young at heart, if not in actual years. I never get to experience the joy of sharing friendship bracelets with 10 year olds at home. My addiction allows me to here. If I broke out in a raucous round of Weinie Man in my school teachers’ lounge on my lunch break, people would question my sanity rather than join in. My addiction encourages this at camp. I work with a great group of young women who know how to have fun while also being responsible enough to do their jobs. I can say for certain that at school I have never had even an ounce of the fun that I’ve experienced while doing my camp job – and all while being at an age many think is way too old to go to camp. Something about working, living, and playing with people much younger than me is unique and special beyond words. Their blindness to my age provides a fix I can’t seem to resist or duplicate anywhere else.
Although camp is a place where so much growing up occurs within girls summer after summer, I’ve come to find that it’s also a safe place for me, long grown up, at no matter what age, to be young at heart and to embrace my inner child. Fleur de Lis is my drug of choice and is one addiction I hope I will never have to give up. Whether you develop the same addiction to camp or not that I have, I hope you never outgrow the youthful spirit, memories, and friendships that you’ve acquired here, no matter what age.
– Lady Pam