Boys Camp wants to hear from YOU—boys and girls, teens, and ok, even adults. (Grownups were once kids themselves—we like to revisit that.)
We’d like to fill this section of our website up with YOUR words. In keeping with our stories, we’ll be collecting real-life tales about life outside of your home—be it in the backyard, at camp (day camp or sleep away), at the park, or on any kind of adventure. And we’re also interested in your creative writing: stories, poems, plays, and more. Get ready to see this part of our website fill out, like a garden blooming.
Until we announce the categories, rules for submission, and ways to get your words to us…we offer you examples below, designed to make you want to do one of two things:
1. Run away from this screen to: poke around in shadowy woods, run madly up a hill, squish your toes in the mud, swim in a rippled lake, or maybe just lie in a swaying hammock, watching the clouds float by.
2. Get writing—either on the computer, or in a papery journal using a cool pen, or maybe even by scratching a perfect word into the dirt with a stick.
Sample writings below. Stay tuned for more!
“Mud, Sweat and Happiness”
There is a certain feeling that is only associated with the experience of pulling decomposing beetles out of your hair. It’s a certain lightness of being, a realization that: “well this is as far down as it gets, so I should probably just strip down, roll in the mud, and start barking.” That feeling comes along with a host of related scenarios (and applies to any insect extracted from any part of the body). That’s the feeling I have every year at camp, after three weeks straight of hiking every day in the same clothes in ninety degree heat with no showers or baths or remote semblance of hygiene. The first few days, your body fights it with everything it’s got. That’s the transition period. Then, slowly, it settles into its new state and accepts the coat of grime as simply a second layer of skin.
I’ve discovered that there is a joy in being filthy, in being mistaken as a different ethnic background by people you come across because your skin is so dark. There is certain hilarious satisfaction that comes with waking up every morning and pulling small trees out of your once blonde and now dark brown hair. In picking up a soaking shirt you hung on a branch to dry and wondering if it rained during the night to find out that no, it’s sweat from the night before. In pulling a giant centipede out of your pocket as you lie in your sleeping bag. In stepping in vividly fresh bear poop and then running in the opposite direction when the bear jumps out the tree above and lands nearly on top of you. In drinking brown creek water and accidentally eating leaves with dinner. There is a certain fulfillment that comes with being politely asked to leave from a grocery store during a resupply run after a team of employees finds you at the end of a trail of grimy handprints.
You also gain a certain oneness with your clothing. After twenty-one days of hiking and sleeping in the same shirt, the fabric becomes part of you. Literally. Physically. The shirt stained with food as a result of doubling as a plate and bowl during lunch—scented with mustard, jelly, and hot sun. It is all very revolting, but also surprisingly liberating.
During the other 344 days of the year, I shower every morning, do laundry, file my nails, carefully pay attention to hair and makeup, coordinate outfits, and never fail to meet the whiff test. But for three weeks, every August, I am free to become the most mud-stained, sweaty, tangled, gloriously grimy ball of body odor. And I’ve made some of my now best friends while decked out in soggy hiking boots, damp clothes, and hair in a frizz ball so out of control it generates its own electric field. And so, once a year, I will revel in the sweat, the dirt, the dust, and of course, the beetles.
Isabel Hendrix-Jenkins, Maryland