by | Jul 17, 2005 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

NEWS ITEM: Traditional summer camp programs are being replaced by “specialty” camps, focusing on things such as technology, chess and college preparation.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Hi! How are you! I am writing from camp! I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last letter, but I was in Spanish Language Lab for four days. The good news is, “Hola!”

Anyhow, camp is really cool. I’ve met some neat kids in my bunk, although the counselors have told us to call it a “domicile” because the word “bunk” isn’t gonna be on our SAT exams, so why bother learning it? Also, they said not to refer to them as “counselors” but as “adolescent management consultants.” I don’t know what that means, to be honest, but then, I’m only up to the “Ac” part of the dictionary.

Anyhow, Dad, I’m doing all that physical stuff that you told me to do at camp. Like, I work out my hands really hard in graphic design class, and my counselor says I’m the “fastest mouse in the domicile.” Oops. I said “counselor” again. Don’t tell him, OK?

You asked me about the food? It’s OK, I guess. I kind of wanted McDonald’s and stuff, but the sushi is cool. I just wish we didn’t have to make it all from scratch. Cutting up that raw tuna is like, you know, gross!

Everyone to the pool

So, you wanted to know my typical week. Well, on Mondays, after breakfast, we have aviation. It’s mostly lectures and simulators, so don’t worry. We hardly ever take the plane up.

And then Monday night, we sample space food for dinner. It’s kind of like eating toothpaste. Hey, Dad, you should ask for a refund for this part!

Tuesday is Chinese culture day, so we learn about some emperor named Ming. Tuesday afternoons we have creative writing, photography, math and early prep for the bar exam. Tuesday night we saw a movie. I was so psyched! But it was kind of boring. Who’s this Fellini guy, anyhow?

Wednesday is the usual routine, you know, robotics all morning and human resources training all afternoon. We did go to the swimming pool Wednesday night, for a chemical compound breakdown of chlorine. Some kid fell in the water and the counselor yelled at him for disturbing the pH balance. Oops. I called him a counselor again. Lo siento.

Thursdays and Fridays are the coolest. Those are arts and culture days. We have digital music production, intermediate ballet and Theater Lab I and II. And guess what? I got a part in the next camp play! It’s called “La Boheme”! I’m trying to learn all that Italian by Saturday night. I’ll probably have to stay up late.

The birds and the bees

OK, since I’m 13 now, Mom and Dad, I think I can talk to you about girls. I’m learning a lot about them at camp, as you said I would. On Saturday afternoons, we have Gender Role Reversal. All I can say is, I had no idea how hard it was to put on lipstick! Mom, you rock!

But, in the end, I’m mostly hanging out with the guys in my domicile. There’s Sammy from Beverly Hills and Sahib from the Hamptons. Most of the time, we just nod at one another, because it’s hard to talk with your iPod going and your headphones in. But the other day, me and Sammy had to change batteries at the same time, and I said “Whassup?” and he said “Whassup?” back. So, we’re like, best buds now.

Anyhow, I gotta go, because it’s almost dinner. I think we’re doing Mediterranean night, which means I’ll have to crush olives again. Sammy was telling me he has this poor friend who goes to some camp, like, in the woods, and they paddle in canoes and swim and play baseball and sing some dumb song around a campfire. He thinks all camps used to be like that. You know what I think? I think Sammy’s gonna fail his history test tomorrow.

Adios, Mama y Papa!

Your son, Camper #10278-H9

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or albom@freepress.com. “The Mitch Albom Show” is 3-6 weekdays on WJR-AM (760).


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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