Friday, June 15, 2012

Camp Huckins - A Summer Dream

While we lived in Rhode Island, I got to attend summer camp at Camp Huckins in New Hampshire.  We found out about the summer camp from one of my best friends.  Her cousin had attended.  A great way to describe Camp Huckins is the summer camp in the movie "The Parent Trap".  It was two weeks away from your family in a little white cabin.  The cabins were grouped into three areas that housed different age groups (Juniors, Middlers, and Seniors).  

I got to attend Camp Huckins three consecutive summers.  The first year was after 3rd grade.  My parents bought me a little black trunk to pack my things in.  Each cabin housed 2 camp counselors and 8 or 12 girls in bunk beds.  I want to remember the counselors being high school students or maybe college students.  Each morning started with a bugle call.  We had to make our beds and clean our cabin each morning.  The cabin received a score each day after inspection.  The cabin with the highest score each week won a prize.

After breakfast in the mornings, there was organized activities.  Some of the activities I remember include in-ground trampolines, tennis, field hockey, archery, BB guns, horse lessons, water ski lessons, sailing, canoeing, CPR lessons, and art classes.

Afternoons had a mandatory rest period after lunch for your food to settle.  After rest time was about 3 hours of open time.  One of my favorite things to do in the afternoon was time in the lake.  The swim area had two roped sections.  The first square was more shallow.  There was a wide lane that went around the inner square that had several diving boards at different heights.  It was a big deal to be able to go in the outer area.  You had to pass a test to tread water with your hands out of the water for 2 minutes.  The reason for this is that there were timed intervals where everyone had to stop swimming for a head count.  You had to be able to hold your hands up for the count.  I remember practicing in a pool before camp to make sure that I could pass the test.

There were programs at night.  I remember going to a program called Vespers.  Sometimes the night program would be a contest such as which cabins in each age group could come up with the best dance routine.  I also remember dances.  They would bus the boys in from the camp across the lake for a boys/girls dance.  Of course none of us ever danced together.  We would huddle on our respective sides of the room and talk about being brave enough to talk to a boy.

One of the best parts of the day was eating.  There was a large cafeteria.  Each cabin sat together at their table and the tables were arranged by age group.  Breakfast was usually a quiet meal with everyone just getting going.  After lunch and dinner there was always singing.  An age group or the whole room would stand up on the seats of their cafeteria tables and belt it out.  Each age group had a song.  I can still remember the Middlers song - M-I-double D-L-E-R-S spells Middlers, Middlers.  We are always in the Middle, Middle.  Some of us are big and some are little, little. M-I-double D-L-E-RS spells us. Looking back one of the funniest songs we sang was "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night (affectionately known as Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog).

My last summer at Camp Huckins was after the fifth grade.  I got to attend even though we were moving to Virginia that summer.  I have wonderful memories of going to camp.   I hope that I will be able to send my kids to camp when they reach the same age as I was.

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