Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Summer Camp Was Life's Outdoor Classroom

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Summer Camp Was Life's Outdoor Classroom

Article excerpt

Byline: kevin clark

The place that filled my head with the most knowledge about life and about myself was not a school classroom. It wasn't a boot camp barracks and it wasn't a desk at a small newspaper.

It was a summer camp.

You remember summer camp, that place of high adventure, true friends and wildlife encounters. A place where learning to carve a block of wood into a work of art was so fun, you didn't realize your brain was actually absorbing something other than Saturday morning cartoons.

I spent portions of every summer from age 11 to 18 at a Boy Scout camp nestled within a valley surrounded by the north Georgia mountains. The camp had all the necessities for great memories: a large lake, a campfire amphitheater, open-ended cabins, overcooked food, millions of critters big and small, starry nights and torrential rainstorms, cuts, scrapes and letters home.

My time weaving baskets and sailing small boats was so enjoyable, I dedicated my last five summers there as a camp counselor. It was then I learned as much about the vices of life as I did life skills.

Summer camp season is upon us again and I thought it a good time to chronicle a few things I learned from those adventures. I'll bet your accounts are similar. Perhaps you'd like to share your memories and lessons O e-mail me at kevin.clark@jacksonville.com.

In the meantime, here are some of mine:

You can learn more colorful cuss words at camp than any other place, and that includes the military.

If you throw a lighted firecracker at a fellow camper, he is likely to return the favor within 24 hours.

It's cool to have hat hair at camp.

If you smack a hornet's nest with a large stick, you will be stung several times.

A mosquito repellent bottle is as important as a water canteen. It also makes a fine flame thrower.

Every boy thinks they he knows how to handle a snake . …

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