I Led A Week Of Camp 2 Years Ago, Now I’m Going Global

Erin Jean Warde
Erin Jean Warde
June 26, 2020

As a non-breeder, I feel compelled to offer support to all the parents struggling to give their children a “summer camp experience” during the pandemic. After leading one week of camp two years ago, I’ve decided to make my summer camp expertise available worldwide. Please note: some traditional camp favorites have been adapted to meet you where you are!

What to expect from me, your camp counselor: a hearty smile, a distant stare, and no liability

What I expect from campers: the willingness to absolutely ruin your life and home for one week, plus a mandatory one-on-one meeting

Here’s how to bring camp into your quarantine:

  • Campify Your Home: Remove all personal items that make you feel comforted. Replace with partially broken wooden chairs and a ping-pong table from Craigslist. Carefully drape damp towels around the room for a pop of color. Turn your walls into drying racks for tasteful swimsuits.
  • Hot Dogs Du Jour: Nourish yourself with the same meal for almost every day of the week: boiled moist hot dogs on a bun with the first squeeze of ketchup water. For dessert: a warm can of fruit cocktail! On Fridays, give yourself a treat! One piece of cheese pizza warmed up in a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a drinkable serving of vanilla ice cream. Yum!
  • Don’t Say Goodbye to S’mores: Craving that “smores by the fire” feel? Campers, ask your parents for s’mores! Follow them everywhere they go inside your home, room by room, asking them for s’mores. When they cave to your incessant demands, go on a scavenger hunt to find all the Amazon boxes in your home, which you will use to set the fire in the living room!
  • Learn How to Track Beasts: Everyone, break out your best David Attenborough impression (ask your parents) as we spend a significant amount of time following our pets around the home. No pets? No problem! I will be following my cat Gigi around and you can join in on the fun via Zoom! You will learn how to track the lifestyle habits of these beasts by paying close attention to where they’ve left behind sprinkles of cat litter or dirt and grass, all of which certainly include small granules of bodily waste. If you didn’t know your pets are disgusting, you will now!
  • Create A Unique Organic Fragrance: But don’t be too hard on your pets — you’re disgusting too! During camp, I suggest campers only take cold showers that manage to reach just the surface level of their hair and legs. (Parents: Make sure the only soap available is one of those orange Dial bars with a single hair from someone you don’t know!) Do not wash your mid-section… it spoils the experience! Immediately following each shower, campers must cover their bodies in pure DEET and sunscreen, then put on their clothes without drying off. Make this interactive for the whole family: let these grooming habits become a family ritual, which not only builds strong family bonds, but it might decrease the likelihood that you can smell each other, as it will just become the way your house smells.
  • Create Your Favorite Lake: Missing the ol’ dip in the lake? Simply bring dirt from your backyard (or any dirt accessible to you where you live) and place it inside your bathtub! For an extra immersive experience, cover the dirt in lotion so you get that genuine between-your-toes-I-feel-uncomfortable sensation!
  • Become the Extreme Nature Person You Say You Are: Spend a few hundred dollars at a boutique plant shop getting some new houseplants for the family to enjoy! For the first week, everyone will bask in their fluffy green glory. Then, over the course of the month, let the family quickly neglect the fact that houseplants need sun and water. This is a great opportunity for campers to become acquainted with the concept of death, as they observe your ferns quickly withering away in the dark corner of your kitchen.
  • Learn How to Support Others In Need: Each camper will have a one-on-one with me, in which I will share about how I am feeling existentially, and they will learn active listening. It’s important for children, even now, to begin thinking about where they want to be when they are 33. And who will they want to be 3–5 years after that? Should I be dating more? Is it time for me to finally launch my cat-based web series about spirituality? This part of camp was definitely created to educate children and has nothing to do with my own needs.

At this camp, we live by the motto: Have a summer your therapist will never forget!