Four out of five experts are always agreeing on something. But who are these experts and what do they know? Well, here at Dan’s Papers, we’re already thinking about summer—summer camps, to be specific. What to bring, what to expect, what to do; the pressing questions. We wanted to get our own expert opinions on summer camps, and who better to ask than actual summer campers. So we convened two panels of eager campers aged two to seven to see what’s what when it comes to summer camp.
We first talked to Isla, 7, and her sister Nina, 2. Isla is a Hayground Camp regular, and Nina is looking forward to her first summer at camp. There’s so much that Isla likes about camp that it’s difficult to choose. She specified trapeze, though she says “it’s terrifying. It looks a really long way down when you’re climbing up the ladder.” She adds that she’s not scared anymore because she’s been doing it for a couple of years.
Of all the choices at Hayground Camp, Isla prefers swimming (she learned to swim at camp) and art, though woodshop is not far behind. In years past, Isla has made a bed for her stuffed animals and a birdhouse—with the help of counselors. This year, she’d like to make a bookcase. Isla also mentions liking Superheroes Day, Field Day and the Follies talent show. “I’ve pretty much done everything,” she says.
Isla likes Hayground Camp so much she’s already considering the CIT (Counselor in Training) program for when she’s 14. As a matter of fact, she can’t think of a single thing she dislikes; not even one thing she wishes were different. Well, maybe the puppet shows. “They’re all about potty talk,” she says.
She also has a word of advice for counselors: “Let the CIC (Camper in Crime) attack you.” Isla claims with a smile that the CIC once made a counselor eat sand, though she is tight lipped about other incidents.
Enter Nina in an Elsa dress and tiara. She’ll be going to Hayground for the first time this year. Isla’s advice: “Listen to the counselors. People who are just starting camp don’t have choices so they have to listen to counselors more. Nina’s going to love it,” she says, encouraging her sister to add to the conversation. “I’m gonna be in the Belugas,” Nina says excitedly, stretching out the U. She is thrilled to hear that her sister will say hello to her at camp and gives her a hug. She is looking forward to giving her sister a kiss, swimming and yoga, specifically Tree Pose and Tic-Toc. A demonstration of the poses and a song ensued, during which an eye may or may not have been accidently poked. This ends our conversation.
Audrey is 6 and three-quarters. She attends Future Stars Summer Camp in Southampton. “What I like about it is that I play tennis there because I love playing tennis,” she says. Like Isla, she looks forward to swimming at camp. She also explains Gaga, a game in which “if you get hit by a [kick] ball on your knees or below, you’re out. But if you get hit on the head, or between the head and the thigh, you’re not out.” Perhaps her favorite part about camp are the water slides.
“Big Kahuna is up every Thursday and you slide down it,” she explains. “It’s an inflatable slide, and there’s a ladder and someone at the top spraying water, that you slide down and at the bottom there’s water. It’s like a slip ’n’ slide, [which] is something that’s up every Tuesday, and there’s two different ways you can go down and at the end there’s a big puddle of water. And sometimes you go real fast and then you dive into the thing and your face gets all soaked.”
Also like Isla, Audrey can’t think of anything she dislikes about camp because she “loves camp a lot.” Her tips to new campers: “Bring extra water and wear a sun hat so you don’t get sunburned.”
Visit our Summer Camp Guide for a listing of local camps, as well as more helpful articles about choosing the right camp and more.