I am a camp counselor, through and through. For the past three summers I have disappeared into the wilderness for seven weeks of unplugged, organic-farming, tree-hugging fun with kids, and if I could do it full-time, I probably would. This American Life, NPR’s wildly successful program from WBEZ Chicago, spent an entire show back in 1998 telling stories about camp, and it aired again recently:
Their main goal is to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between camp folk who gush about their summers and non-camp folk who don’t know what all the fuss is about. (This misunderstanding is a cause of great confusion between me and my non-camp friends.) What makes this episode so brilliant is its complete immersion into that world, the emphasis on tradition and the power of routine, its spot-on accuracy in depicting the kind of joy that is entirely unique to summer camp. Adam Davidson‘s story, although only tangentially related to actual camp, is hilarious and heartbreaking and somehow never fails to make me cry. If you don’t have time to treat yourself to the whole episode, just listen to his bit (about 30 minutes in).