Summer camp is a time for kids to make some of their best (and worst) memories. Some of us never got to go to summer camp, instead we binge watch the new season of Wet Hot American Summer and dream about bunk beds and talking vegetable cans. We asked Society6 artists to illustrate some of their favorite summer camp stories (either theirs or of friends), so gather ’round the digital bonfire and read on!
Mike Force: (from his friend Molly Schulman)
“So my older brother Ben was 12 and super hip and cool and had a deep voice and long hair and he liked real bands like Nirvana and Sonic Youth. It was his first year away at summer camp and naturally he was the cool, hip one and my mom always sent him cool hip things like sub pop paraphernalia and cassettes. so whenever he opened his packages, all the kids gathered round so see what cool loot cool kid ben had scored. at the time i was 6 and i was a little adorable maniacal menace and right as my mom was about to close up a package for him, i stealthily slipped in a few of my older sister’s (jumbo sized) maxi pads. a few weeks later, my mom received a letter from ben saying that he’s never been so embarrassed in his life, and he’s never coming home and he’s divorcing the family. he had opened up the package with all his usual posse of onlooker buddies only to pull out the giant period pads. everyone made fun of him and was convinced he was menstruating. ben blamed my mom for years and when she denied it, he blamed and hated my sister, and nobody ever suspected it was i, little innocent pipsqueak molly. when i was a teenager, I confessed. The end.”
I’ve never been to a summer camp until I was 19. In my country, you have to serve one month in the military camp after the first year of the university. We had been arranged to sleep in the room filled with six people, all were in the same department, we later switched places so that we could be with our friends. I had always loved my personal space and never shared a room with more than three people so it irked me a bit initially.
The military camp was like everything you’d imagine. We had to wake up at 6:15 and assemble at 6:30. Every room must send two people to clean the yard, while the rest stayed and folded the blanket decent enough so that when we back from the strategy and technique classes, we would not find our things been tossed outside and spend our lunch refolding the blanket till they’re all rigid and geometrically eye pleasing.
There was this one rule at night when the general announced in the speaker that it was time for light out, precisely at 22:00. He would count down from 10 and whatever we were doing in the room should all be filled with silent and darkness by the time he reached 0. Then the guard boys patrolled around the block to see if we were well asleep and if not, we would be invited for a night time marathon around the yard.
This one night, we were out late celebrating the last day of staying together. One of us was just having a shower, others were doing their night routine when the count down began and we didn’t have time to finish. We turn off the light and shut the back door to the balcony along with the door of the bathroom then turned on the flash light of our phone. One shined into the cubical for the other to finish showering, everyone else just turned it on so we would not stumble on each other. It looked like a dance floor with disco lights sparkled up the place. We giggled for how stupid we look and since that was the last night already, we plugged in our headphones, turned on the music and sang along with that summer heat.
We had to run around the yard afterward of course, but it was worth it. I had never felt so connected with others than I did then.
Even though it was full of rules and the food sucks, I didn’t expect to have such a wonderful summer. I came in living with six friends and walked out with a pack of extra family. I would definitely re-experience it if I had a chance.
It was the ocean, it was the ocean, it was the moon. Are all the children gathering by the fire? Are you bringing a lighter for the lamps? We didn’t tell them that we felt it, but it was around us- you kept thinking that the yellow shirt girl would be a mother one day- was it a lion? Wait-the dog is in the mess hall- it barfed up a finger-was it a finger? A ring? She’s married? When did she move to Connecticut? Were you part of that decision? That’s a carrot- a small carrot-it was a little one- the kind we kept on the stove and stewed in ketchup because they didn’t know how to make more- the kids are running- do you hear that? Who’s that in the background? Are you peeing? Call me back when I’m on the plane and the echo will repeat what we thought we were looking at before the first steps came- a mother! A yellow mother, I was an uncle but I didn’t stay long enough to know that this was the aisle where they kept the puppies- the ketchup? The lighters are on the top shelf at the bodega- don’t get a white one, the dog barfed. It was a finger.
When I was much younger I went to a summer camp in east Kansas right by a lake with a couple of friends. The camp was a bit boring but I was with my best buds, so we made it fun. In-between some planned activities we had some free time. We were told not to explore too far, but like I said, the camp was a bit boring and we decided to go on an adventure! We basically just started walking around the lake shore and soon enough camp was no longer in sight. We were doing the normal stuff like skipping rocks and rough housing but had come to a sketchy part of the lake shore. The ground didn’t look normal, it was unusually wet (In hindsight it had been a particularly wet summer and the lake had flooded) Well, one of my friends walked straight into the area and we saw him sink about waist deep into the mud. He panicked, and of course being a kid I immediately thought “Welp, this is it. QUICKSAND!” My other friend and I tried pulling him free be we soon sank into the mud as well. Thankfully, we all soon realized that there was solid ground under all the mud and it was just piled up from the flood. Then we WWE style wrestled in it. Which was very smart because we had to get back to camp soon and we were all covered in mud from exploring (something we weren’t supposed to do). We took the shortcut through the woods to get back to camp faster WITHOUT washing off in the lake first. Halfway back we realized our error but it was too late. So We all committed to coming out of the woods like 3 baby mud-squatches to scare the campers. We didn’t scare them. We just got in trouble and a bunch of weird looks.