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Jewish Summer Camp: Stuff No Parent Wants to Hear

July 23, 2017 | by David Kilimnick

”Sorry sport, but mom and dad are sick of having you at home.”

Jewish Summer Camp is the cornerstone of Jewish American life. Parents have embraced the summer camp experience, sending their kids away so that they can enjoy the summer without their children. The children in turn are willing to live in sub-suburb conditions, not realizing their parents are living it up at home. The children are waking up at 6am to a bugle and smashing garbage cans, while the parents are sleeping till 10am with air-conditioning. Let’s be honest, Jewish Summer Camp is a vacation for the parent, and there are some things that they just do not want to hear, things that distract them from all of that relaxing.

Here are things that you, as a parent, do not want to hear from your child at Jewish Summer Camp:

My Counselor is Going to be a Junior in High School

That is the child watching over your kid for the summer, keeping him safe. You didn’t trust the teen to babysit your kid when you went to the movies, because the teenager failed Home-Ec. Now, he is taking your youngest on overnights in the middle of the woods.

I Want to Come Home

This explosive comment can kill hard fought summer plans.

You sent them to camp to get rid of them for the summer. You were willing to spend $9,000 on each child to make sure they would not come back home. You even left a 15-year-old in charge of them, and pretended like you didn’t notice. Now this? I don’t think so.

This statement may also come in the form of:

“I am Home Sick.” It might be difficult, but the only real response to this is tough love: “Sorry sport but mom and dad are sick of having you at home.”

Kids are Mean – When children are not around adults, they turn into creatures of hate with no moral sense.

“I Miss You”: Worst thing to hear. A parent only wants to hear that if it is not genuine.

“I Miss Your Cooking”: Feels good when you hear it but soon they are coming home and you are going to have to cook.

I Don’t Like Bunkbeds

They will never survive in camp or in a youth hostel. They are going to be expensive to raise.

Arts & Crafts is Great

The storage room at the house is already full of art work that nobody likes. You don’t need lanyard to add to the piles of talentless art that the third-grade teacher did not have the wherewithal to throw out in school. This means your child is going to be bringing home the fifth Chanukah lighting Menorah that they made out of nuts and a slab of wood.

To note, lanyard is the one difference between art class in school and arts and crafts in camp.

I Like Learning with My Rabbi in Camp

Now your child thinks that learning Torah takes place at a picnic table, while running around without a book. Freeze tag has turned into Torah studies. No medication will prepare this one for the rude awakening that is the new year of school.

I Went to the Infirmary

You had no idea that the camp you sent your child to is an army barracks in the middle of a Catskill war zone.

I Love Camping

Now they have a new love for the outdoors and you have to do a family Shabbat in the wilderness. You did not send them to camp so that you can sleep outside.

I Started Collecting Salamanders

New hobbies are a bad thing.

You do not need another reason to save every one of your glass bottles and shoe boxes.

I Love Archery

Bows and Arrows are not good in the neighborhood. On the other hand, one positive about this new hobby is that it keeps the neighbors off the lawn.

I Like Air-Conditioning

They are going to be coming home early this summer.

I Want a Package

Can’t buy a month of no shopping?! Now you must pick up Pringles, Twizzlers and hockey gear. You already spent $9,000 on camp. The least they can do is provide your child with sports equipment and some sweets!

Over the years, the packages have gotten bigger and more intricate. Now that these children are all part of the entitled generation, they are requesting comfort. You have to go to the supermarket and Bed Bath & Beyond. You are competing with parents who are sending packages with couches and air-conditioning units, and anything else that will ensure that their child does not want to come home. Kids are getting packages with golf carts.

If you want any love from your child, regular Pringles will not do; you’ve got to make sure that the Pringles are sour cream n’ onion.

I am Cleaning My Bunk

In your home he does nothing, never lifted a hand, but at camp, he was voted “cleanest camper.” His room at the house is full of clothes all over the floor. Now he is spending a whole hour, known as cleaning hour and inspection, helping every day, cleaning and tucking in his sheets. At home, there was never even a “cleaning minute.”

I Want to Switch Camps

That is another $9,000 you have to invest to make sure the child doesn’t come home.

I Am the Best at Floor Hockey

Your child’s dreams of being an athlete will be shot when he comes home and learns that only Jewish people play floor hockey. Now you are going to have to explain to him that hockey is played on ice and you are not moving to Canada. You will have to sit your 12-year-old child in front of a documentary about enforcers to show him how dangerous it is to fight. At least the ice hockey goons will help your child find a new interest in other sports, such as ping pong.

We were the Purple Team at Color War

The purple team never wins.

Our Team Won the Singing Competition

For the next year, you have to listen to your child singing another Jewish song that their division head wrote. Now they are going to have aspirations of being an athlete and an R&B singer, who is going mainstream with lyrics from Tehillim (psalms).

Visiting Day is My Favorite Day

This just reminds you that they are coming back home, and again, your vacation is ruined.

You Have to Tip the Counselor

The $9,000 doesn’t cover anything the camp offers. With the tips, you just spent $12,500.

At the end of the summer, your child is back at home and you are cooking, shopping, driving them to art class, music class, sports league, friends’ homes, archery, therapy due to feelings of abandonment, voice lessons, renting storage for arts and crafts, going on family trips and camping, purchasing a new bed, waking them up with a garbage cans for school, hanging fly tape from your ceiling so that your child feels safe, and driving into New York City on weekends. Why? Because you sent your child to Jewish Summer Camp.

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