I know that some folks are skeptical about the camp experience and I just wanted to relay my family’s experience. My husband grew up in the New York metropolitan area and was reluctant to venture out into the wilds of Vermont. I had discovered Camp Common Ground from a tiny ad in a homeschooling magazine the year before. We had just returned from a vacation on Cape Cod where I had eaten iceberg lettuce and baked potatoes for most of my meals. (At the time I was a strict vegetarian.) So when I received the camp brochure the following year, I signed us up.
The first summer Steve and the kids liked it. The second summer they were sold. Year three we stayed for two weeks. All along, however, I was the one who truly appreciated the experience of leaving my life behind, having things done for me, the no driving, and hanging out with great people.
Then, the fourth summer, things really turned around.
We went to the Cape for a week after camp because we’ve gone every year and have family friends we like to meet up with there. About halfway through the week Steve, my dear husband, came over to me and said, “This is no vacation. Camp is vacation!” He was referring to the fact that at the Cape we have to “forage” for our food – with buying, schlepping, and preparing or standing in long lines for mostly mediocre fare. “At camp,” he wined, “we only have to wait in a short line to eat delicious food that I don’t have to clean up after and I don’t have to pull my out my wallet for!”
The next day on the beach he queried, “Which do you prefer: the ocean or the creek?” I said, “Well, they’re diff….” He interrupted me: “I hate the ocean with the sand and sun and all the schlepping and getting ready and pulling out the wallet!”
That night, driving the kids to the movies and then the ice cream shop, after spending the day whale watching 45 minutes from our house, he stewed, “At camp we don’t have to drive anywhere and I don’t have to pull my wallet out of my pocket!"
On the final day at the Cape we were doing the ritual daily negotiation. “Who wants to go bike riding? How about the beach? Bay or ocean? Shopping in P-town?” Lots of moaning and complaining ensued.
No one could agree. Steve dropped, “I am exhausted from trying to have fun and plan everything with these guys and you. All the good stuff that happened to relax me in Vermont has melted away. At camp we can all do just what we like, together or separate, with friends or alone. AND I don’t ever have to pull out my wallet! I miss Camp Common Ground!”