From Debra Rienstra
Monday I will send my youngest off to good ol’ Camp Roger for a week. Camp Roger is your classic Christian sleepover camp: cabins with Indian names, capture-the-flag, a waterfront with a slimy dock, lanyards, archery, devotions at night, “Kum Ba Yah” around the campfire—the whole bit. My son went last year and surprised himself by having a great time. He even reported that the devotional times were very good, which of course pleased his parents, who pay the fees and expect at least a little spiritual payoff.
Camp Roger is a well-run camp with terrific staff. Some families around here have sent their youngsters to Camp Roger for generations. My husband went there as a kid and later was a counselor, and I’m pleased to report that two out of three of my kids have had great experiences there. But apparently, camp is not for everybody. My second child did not like it. He didn’t like the dirt, or the “forced fun,” or the fact that he gouged his leg on a bunk bed and then got sick on the last day.
I was another case, I’m afraid, of camper failure. The summer after fourth grade, I went to Camp Geneva in Holland, Michigan—another very nice Christian camp—and hated it. I was among the youngest kids at the session, and I felt out of place. I wasn’t a great swimmer, I had never shot a bow or paddled a canoe, and lights-out readings of The Giving Tree didn’t impress me even at the innocent age of almost-ten. Meanwhile, it seemed as if everyone else had inherited camp-related skills from their ancestors—which they probably had. The whole week was an exercise in bewilderment. I was not interested in going back.