Five contributors share past summer experiences and their plans for the upcoming break.
Graphic by Adrienne Lirio
Tripping Beauty, by Maggie Liu
Once upon a time, I embarked on the perilous journey to become a camp counselor-in-training. To be frank, I was astronomically unprepared. Somehow I didn’t expect that young children would not, in fact, be eager to do activities with any hint of structure.
Branches at Meadowbrook Summer Camp was sweltering, and between the heat and the humidity, it seemed as if my bones were melting. Clearly, no one shared my pain, for the air was filled with the eager chatter of children and counselors alike.
One day, a girl in my group suddenly ran off toward the swamp for nature classes. I immediately took off after her with the noble, though ill-planned, intention of preventing any accidents.
Unfortunately, in my haste to stop disaster before it struck, I created one myself: tripping and diving into the soft mud on the edge of the swamp. It felt like being thrown into a Netflix romantic-comedy starring a clumsy heroine, only instead of being caught by my very own popular, teen love interest, I just faceplanted into the mud.
Needless to say, the other children found this very amusing, and my unfortunate mishap soon became a way for counselors to encourage children not to go near the swamp. Thus, my legacy lived on not so happily ever after. Perhaps I should stick to watching Netflix shows next time, rather than being one.
Memories of Maine, by Angela Tao
I’m all for nature, but I’m physically destined to fail at traditional camping. Therefore, my family decided to go to Bar Harbor, Maine last summer for a fancier, smoother version of this activity: glamping. You still get to sleep under the pitter-patter of rain on canvas, but the tents are also supplied with the modern necessity of internet connection, and thus beloved Netflix access.
Terramor Outdoor Resort had a dining hall with wide windows and wooden walls for a cabin aesthetic, and from it, branched pathways to different groups of tents. With canvas walls but a timber construction, our tent had its own porch, a firepit, actual beds and even a bathroom with a shower.
We spent the daytime along the ocean-side street lined with shops and restaurants, collecting Bar Harbor’s classic blueberry jam and wicker baskets. Nearby, there was a special beach where the water retracted for half the day and flowed over the stones for the other, behind which laid a beautiful hill with a peak perfectly suited for sightseeing.
At night, we gathered around the crackling fire and laughed until our sides ached. We gazed up at the stars and listened to the cicadas buzz and crickets chirp. We breathed in the scent of wood, of grass, of dew. We would take it all in, committing to memory that essence of summer.
Summers’ Dearest, by Sofia Telio
Summer camp is the highlight of my year. I used to count down the days until I could jump out of the car and into the shade of the huge oak, laughing and shouting, and run towards the friends I see summer after summer, year after year.
Having attended the same camp for nearly a decade, I grew up with my fellow campers. These are the friends I learned to swim with, played hours of Monopoly with, sang with and cried with. The memories and friendships we have made will last me a lifetime.
Although bittersweet, the last days of camp were always my favorite. On Wednesdays, we would have petting zoos. Since I was eight, I would dress up as a bunny, holding a bunny. Those evenings there would be ‘arts night’s to display the campers’ visual pieces and performances.
Thursdays were pajama days, and the big musical would play. After the final show, we would storm JP Licks, elated and full of adrenaline.
Finally, Fridays would arrive with a carnival to end camp. We would get bunk photos, tangible memories for friends to sign with their phone numbers promising to keep in touch and return. There were always both tears and smiles as we climbed into separate cars and watched our friends wave goodbye. See you next summer!
Canadian Coffee, by Ethan Peller
I have one main goal this summer: to temporarily escape the United States. Two years ago, my family and I had the pleasure of visiting Montreal for a day, and this summer, I hope to return. If you decide to do the same, the nearest major city brimming with flannel and maple syrup is just over five hours away. With all that time on your hands, I suggest you play your favorite road trip games or catch up on the latest true crime podcast.
Once you’ve crossed the St. Lawrence River into the magnificent city of Montreal, you can marvel at all of the wonderful amenities that you won’t be able to find back in the states, such as the metric system and adequate public transit.
However, the best thing about Canada isn’t the poutine or Montreal’s rubber-tired metro system; what I most look forward to is actually Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee chain that puts Dunkin to shame.
I’d highly recommend the Iced Capp, Tim’s signature drink. It is the most divine, blended frozen coffee in existence. No matter what vacation mishaps may have happened prior to experiencing the Iced Capp — be it record-breaking traffic or being approached by a local in French and being unable to respond — you will feel so enchanted that you will never want to return to the U.S.
Beaver Leader, by Jenna Kriensky
Although my summer plans can be quite the uncertain whirlwind of working, traveling and hanging out with friends, there is always one thing I will be doing for sure: I will be going to Chestnut Hill’s Beaver Summer Camp.
In previous years, I had attended Beaver as a camper, and had loved my experiences so much. This summer, I’m eager to pay forward the same amazing activities and guidance I had received as a general counselor in the Upper Camp section for third and fourth graders!
The cooking classes, in particular, are the stand-out activities. Since they were so popular, securing a spot entitled you to major bragging status. The best dish we ever whipped up was a loaf of pumpkin bread. The memory really resonates with me as we were usually only allowed to take a slice, but this time we each got to keep a loaf!
When I am not running after small children, I will hopefully be traveling. It’s a family summer tradition for my dad to try and surprise our family with a fun getaway. I think this year we’re headed to Portugal again, but my dad has been surprisingly discreet.
Most of all, this summer I’m enthusiastic to hang out with my friends and not worry about school anymore — except for my APUSH summer reading. I’m dreading that.