Camp is a capsule: a time and place where you can adopt a new name, wear your hair however you'd like, cheer wildly about dessert, dance like no one's watching.
And in a place so isolated from the rest of the world, it's easy to forget that your experiences are unique, sometimes strange, and, in retrospect, embarrassing.
So we asked our team to share stories and photos from their times at camp for the purpose of laughing
at with them: about the silly things they wore, the funny faces they made, the experiences so weird they could only happen there.
Lauren Locke: I am outing myself on the fact that, as my husband says, "my parents clearly needed breaks from me." I went to sleep-away camp, horse camp, space camp, mime camp, sea camp, church camp, theater camp... You name the camp (band aside) and I was there.
Meghan Murray: I really wish I had a photo. Though I grew up in a non-religious/slightly Catholic family, for whatever reason my mom enrolled my brother, sister, and me in a Baptist horse camp two years in a row. It wasn't a sleep-away camp but every day you were required to wear a uniform of culottes that were way past your knees and a boxy red tee shirt. I have memories of everything smelling like horse poo, playing capture the flag, and eating Twinkies and drinking Fanta from a vending machine in a barn.
As an aside, I was a huge fan of the camp show Bug Juice and always wanted to be those kids.
Kristen Miglore: It was 1997. CIT [counselor in training] at Girl Scout Camp Menzies. Camp name: Daisy (note outfit), flanked by my best girls Belle and Tink. Sixties-themed dance in the dining tent.
Lindsay-Jean Hard: I very clearly remember that my mom made me pack clothes for sixth-grade camp that made sense for playing in the woods (like jean shorts and a sweet California Raisins T-shirt), but all the popular kids packed nicer clothes, like you'd wear for a regular week of school. Shockingly this did nothing to help my coolness level. Neither did skipping the very popular ropes course in order to finish working on my woodburned picture of a duck.
Kaitlin Bray: Unfortunately, none of my incredibly awkward childhood camp pics are digitized, but you can definitely say I was a "camp kid." I was a camper, then a junior counselor, and finally a counselor at a tennis camp in Vermont where I returned every summer until I was 20. I'm only 1% joking when I say I think the most fun, carefree days of my life are behind me.
The only digital photo I can wrangle up is from when I was a counselor on a night off (we liked to wear costumes!)... Let's just say that Wet Hot American Summer doesn't seem tooooo far fetched and I'll leave it at that.
Erin McDowell: I went to theater camp every summer, but one summer in particular I had the lead role in the musical (nerd alert). I was 15 that summer. In the play, I had something like 16 costume changes, one of which put me into a wedding dress, with a super pregnant baby bump (unfortunately, this is the image that made it into the local paper).
What I remember most about the camp now is that we got an hour and a half each night for dinner. We were right in the center of the cool "downtown" area, so most of us ate out. I had about $5 or so per night. One of my best buds had the same deal with his folks, and we were both obsessed with food (even then—he's now a sommelier in Chicago!), so we concocted a plan. We would go to the good bakery down the street for the first four nights of the week and get ciabatta rolls with butter and jam. They were 50 cents each (and crazy good), so we would skimp and eat that as our dinner. We would hoard all of our other money and on the fifth night, go to the semi-fancy Indian restaurant nearby for dinner. We would return to camp like kings after our feast, not caring a bit that we smelled strongly of fenugreek (double nerd alert).
Hannah Wilken: I hated camp growing up. My mom went to Girl Scout camp for her entire childhood and loved it. So between the ages of 8 to 11 they sent me to a different sleep-away camp every summer because, of course, it wasn't me, it was "the camp's fault." I used to send them postcards home reading "Come get me!"