Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Camp Visiting Day: Salmon, Gatorade and Dirt


Proud parents who just might kill you if you touched these shopping bags
My boys have been away for a month. I realize sleep away camp is a fairly Northeastern phenomenon. I have friends who don’t live here or didn’t grow up going away to camp who think it’s strange. I could make the case for how great camp is, to be in beautiful surroundings, doing sports all day long, making livelong friends etc. but let’s face it is strange. For two weeks, Facebook has been abuzz with photos of parents and child at the mid-summer visiting day. In these photos, there are smiling faces and happy families but there’s another part of visiting day and that’s the overhyped one-day chance to see your children that feels somewhere between New Years Eve and prison visitation (not that I know what that’s like).
Dying to ambush parents and see what's in coolers and suitcases, can you imagine?
People ask me all the time if I let my kids have junk. My general philosophy is that I don’t bring things into the house with questionable ingredients but that we have chips, ice cream just quality versions. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder but three weeks without my boys led my heart and the rest of me to Dylan’s Candy Bar. Typically, at a place like Dylan’s, I would look for the best options chocolate most likely or something non-neon. I wasn’t myself though, I was operating under the influence of parental guilt and anxiety and so I bought one child gummy sharks, the other gummy bears and it didn’t’ stop there I threw in a blue Yankee lollipop and stopped for chips on the way home. I can make myself feel better or give you some context and say, in their own way, all parents go nuts but I was willing to break every food rule in the state I was in.


Then there’s the question of camp food. Days before I saw my boys the New York Times ran a story about camp food. Camps, according to them, aren’t serving spaghetti and hamburgers but “cuisine”.  When we arrived, my son was excited to show me the camp’s farm. I was impressed, he told me when he’s hungry he can stop at the farm on the way to his bunk and have a snack like this.

The warm and fuzzy feeling didn’t last, at lunch (salmon and veggies but I was told that they never had that) I spotted something. 
So much for cuisine
My older son was quick to tell me he has only had it two or three times. It’s a pity, he was such a nice nose I’m so sad that’s it’s going to be growing…I may have been away from them for a few weeks but I know when I am being lied to.

As a parent, another of the many strange things about camp is the whole issue of self care. I thought we were good parents, instilling important habits in our children but one of my boys was a mess. Marc said, “I think he’s wearing the same clothes he had on the bus up to camp.” At home, I would’ve been horrified but on this day of rule breaking I ignored it completely. No showers or clean clothes? No problem.
Who says adult females are the only ones with shoe fetishes?
What do you see here? I see roller hockey equipment on a 90 degree day, contemplate what's growing in it, say nothing
So I’m sorry if you expected smiling pictures of my family. If you’re a Facebook friend maybe I’ll post one. I know we took a few. I just find parents waiting at the gate to see their children with suitcases of food, McDonalds shakes (one mom clutched these like it was a family heirloom) and the strangeness of this so much more interesting.
seven hours later, off they go, coolers empty
Did you go away to camp? What kinds of things did your parents bring when they visited? What did you bring this year? What emotions make you break your food rules?
Thank you so much for the amazing response to the Harmless Harvest post, the winner of the giveaway is Amber. We will contact you shortly.

18 comments:

  1. It's not just a northeast thing. I grew up in the midwest and went to sleep away camp for years. There was no parents visiting day though so we had to bring all of our candy and chips with us at the beginning. :)

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  2. Lauren....Thanks SO much for making me feel like at least ONE thing is worthwhile about my two children being home for the summer! I KNOW that they ate their organic fruits and veggies last night and their organic grass fed beef! Hope you had a great time and are having a nice summer...Cheryl

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  3. Micah- no visiting day, not the same ha. Thanks for the correction.

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  4. I think my parents were afraid that if my sister and I went away to camp we'd start kissing boys in sleeping bags. I did go to tennis camp for a week when I was 14, though. I have a vague memory of being sent with protein bars, but I'm sure there was other stuff because my mom always made sure we had plenty of snacks.

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  5. Im reading this weeping! Im not a fanatic but this post and my memories of sleepaway camp make me afraid! very afraid! Its a scary food world! Seriously? Gatorade? just when you thought you taught your kids a good thing or two they end up in this world? Im signing them up for food trainers camp! Water in glass bottles, cross training, what could be better?

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  6. One of my favorite studies is one in which they took a group of detained boys with known behavioral and attention problems and removed food dye and added sugar from their diets. The positive change in their attention and behavior was remarkable in about a month. Ha Ha- imagine working in a camp with a gatorade machine! Glad your boys practice moderation!

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  7. I love the idea of sleep away camp but we don't do that here in LA. Not sure why?


    They are opening a Dylan's Candy Bar here in LA! Finally. Maya is thrilled but it is hard to let her buy so much crap. And to let her eat it.

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  8. I went to sleep away camp once in grade school, and once in high school, but both were only for one week, Agree-it does seem to be an East Coast thing. Did you really buy your kids candy at Dylans??? My kids love that place!! :-)

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  9. I did and now it seems so silly but I would've bought them a car in the state i was in...not seeing them/nervous.

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  10. I think that may be better Ameena because once it's there it will not be such a draw. My kids are there maybe once a year. How was your trip? NYC soon?

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  11. and I think the dyes worse than the sugar. I think that's why sugar gets such a bad wrap. Funny- not a ton of candy/sweets at camp but that silly machine, yuck.

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  12. i think my boys camp feels camp is camp and they have a great salad bar but they haven't made it gourmet. Part of me likes the idea that it's informal but the gatorade kills me. I get they do 8 hours of sports but water works.

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  13. And Jess, I'm fine if they kissed girls (although it's a single sex camp) it's the food that gets me.Hope you're well.

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  14. Are you rubbing it in grass fed organic?

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  15. Cameo MorningstarJuly 25, 2012 at 5:40 AM

    I went to camp. It was through some church. Actually I went away many times to camp! But always church oriented...so include the West Coast into your sleep-away camp but with the Jesus caveat? And I am no longer a church goer...so camp did nothing for me on the religious front. I digress...
    My parents brought me nothing...my camp was only a week or so. But I totally hear you on breaking food rules. I am heading home to Oregon tomorrow and I too was lured in by the siren song of Dylan's Candy Bar! An establishment I never once set foot into until I discovered the clean and always available public restroom. Now I go there 2 or 3 times a week before hopping on the N.
    I saw the cute little sweats that say, "I heart Candy" and a pink T that says "LOVE" in candy-letters....and I had to buy them for my niece. I am so anti giving kids candy...but a pair of sweats that professes a love for it?

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  16. I never went away to camp but I did work at a weight-loss camp for a summer during college. It was quite the experience. Although the food had low calorie choices, it was mostly processed "health" foods: vegan chicken nuggets, waffles/pancakes, veggie burgers, etc. At the time, I didn't think anything of this but maybe that's because I mostly stuck to their incredible salad bar...I'm telling you...anything you could dream was in the salad bar! Loved it! In any case, parents did come visit and they couldn't bring food. Not to say that when they went off campus they didn't come back with remnants of Mcd's, etc....Why would a parent send their child to a weight-loss camp and then contribute to their gluttony when the come visit? Guilt? Perhaps. As for you, I know I would have been the same way if I hadn't seen my kids for a couple weeks! You are an exception compared to most parents (choosing quality foods almost all the time). Glad you got to enjoy the weekend with them!

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  17. i went to sleep away for many years. the camp i went to allowed parents to visit whenever they wanted. my parents came every 2 weeks. the brought plenty of candy which the counselors helped themselves to without asking. the best thing my parents brought was pistachio nuts. no other parent brought that. my grandfather used to buy them on the lower east side. i was the most popular kid until they ran out.

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  18. When me and my 2 sons went camping with their classmates family, it is a stressful one but a worthy bonding between me and my children. I thought I will get sick but thanks to my my son Ricky, he bought me this a chlorella he got at Dr. Mercola, here it is let me share it to you guys at http://products.mercola.com/chlorella/ and I think it is some kind of vitamins or something. I felt better and I got to play with my sons over a family fun games.

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