In a previous post, I compared the TFA Institute experience to a teacher sleepaway camp.
In many ways it reminded me of the various summer camps I have participated in my life. Offhand, here’s some I remember:
- Vacation Bible School – various small-times ages: I was so little so all I remember is…Country Time Lemonade and churchy songs? But I’m sure someone could point to increased literacy effects or something.
- Some summer day camp (heathen remix): I recall one when I was about 7. There was swimming every day (weather permitting) and hella games including my introduction to the majesty of Capture the Flag. I’m guessing there were good reasons why I only went to this one year, but child-me was oblivious to these reasons.
- Swim lessons: important if you never want to drown in 10 feet or less of water.
- Basketball camp at UT-San Antonio: my instructor gave me a mediocre grade in passing because I never passed the ball from the backcourt way down frontcourt. Uh, Point 1: that’s a high-risk, low-reward play in youth basketball. POINT 2: I was 8 and 8-year-olds are super well-known for having BASICALLY NO MUSCLES FOR THROWING LARGE BALLS LONG DISTANCES. SIR. Respectfully. Basketball career ended before it even started.
- Soccer camp at University of the Incarnate Word: my most vivid memory here was lying to some kid about also going to military school because I wanted to sound tough. I bet he was lying about going to military school, too, I mean how many kids go to military school?
- Middle school band camp at UT-Austin: I was first chair euphonium, suckers. Let the whole world know of my mastery of an obscure secondary band-only instrument with no distinct sound or important parts in any music except Sousa marches. I remember being so awkward and miserable due to my extremely limited social skills and wanting to be home the whole time. Scorecard: social skills, 0; coping skills, 1; musical skills, four billion.
- High school marching band camp at my school: OH MY GOD IT IS SO HOT, WHY AM I SO OUT OF SHAPE, I NEED TO STOP STARING AT PEOPLE, BEING 15 IS A DRAG, ISN’T THIS OUTLAWED BY THE GENEVA CONVENTION, ALERT THE HAGUE.
- High school journalism camp at UT-Austin: Still no social skills, so I decide to compensate one evening by believing I could be the Guy Who Wears a Tie with an Untucked Dress Shirt (aka I wish I was in the Strokes ca. 2003). I’m wincing like I’ve got a lemon wedge in my mouth right now. I think I learned some journalismy type things but mostly I learned that I cannot talk to my peers.
- Writing workshop at Gemini Ink: I drove my 1977 VW Bus on surface streets to downtown because my freeway navigational skills were about as adept as my ability to carry a conversation with someone without wanting to set myself alight. I remember writing A LOT and writing some RIDICULOUSLY PRETENTIOUS prose poetry that I’m sure I’ve kept so my future kids can read it and be like WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU, DAD?? YOU USED TO BE COOL/A FREAK. And then I will puff my pipe and adjust my cardigan and belt out a hearty guffaw and wonder where Imagination left to *furiously completes a decade’s worth of tax returns and grouses about a mortgage and the neighbors’ dogs*. Also of note, FINALLY MADE SOME FRIENDS. Though I did not keep them because they went to other schools and this predates Facebook so we had our stupid AIM screen names (I still have mine, by the way).
This is darn near exhaustive, so drink it up.
Suffice to say, I had many opportunities to visit college campuses and work on physical and academic skills while not enrolled in school.
THESE ARE IMPORTANT THINGS IN A CHILD’S LIFE (hint hint, dear corporate reformers, please cut a blank check to AWESOME SUMMERTIME SMART AND HEALTHY KIDS PROGRAMS).
This summer I am going to do debate camp! It is going to be small scale this year so I can figure out what to do with it and my limited budget of I DON’T WANT TO SPEND MONEY ON ANYTHING BUT SNACKS AND MAYBE SOME COOL HANDOUTS. I hope this works out because I am kind of flying by the seat of my pants. But they are very nice pants.
Tell me about your formative summer experiences. Please be liberal with ALL CAPITAL LETTERS because they are URGENT and REALLY SELL YOUR HUMOROUS LINES BETTER.