From what you know about me, do I seem like someone who should have ever been sent to camp? I hate the great outdoors, and I’m not exactly athletic. Nonetheless, when I was 12 or so, I found myself packing up and heading off to Jew Kid Camp (JKC).
The good thing about JKC is that we were all clumsy disasters. Most physical activities took place in the pool; Marco Polo, Sharks and Minnows, and “free swim.” My people seem to be strong swimmers. We spent the rest of the time eating, doing indoor arts and crafts projects, and in religious services (tons of services). It was there that I became a devout Jew, praying that no one was going to make me go into the woods or attempt any kind of sport.
My prayers were answered. We were up in the Poconos, so it was nice and cool outside, and no one tried to make us hike or play soccer or anything like that. Perfect.
While I never went away to camp again, a few years later I found myself in summer school repeating (and you know I couldn’t make this up) 10th grade PE. Some of my friends and I much preferred to sneak cigarettes in the dug-out than to participate in actual activities. Yet somehow they all squeaked by, and I didn’t.
As you can guess, the group of kids who fail 10th grade PE in Fairfax County schools is a pretty sorry lot. They got us off on the right foot by letting us wear plain old shorts and t-shirts rather than those standard issue polyester jumpsuits that say “HELLO. My name is LOSER.” We cheered up considerably as it became clear that unlike PE in regular school, PE in summer school wasn’t intended to destroy our self-esteem. We had two teachers, both of whom quickly came to the conclusion that we probably weren’t going to be the best group to put on a court or field of any kind. I respected these women for having the wisdom to drop all thoughts of whipping us into shape.
It was quite an interesting summer of activities…so much more to tell, yet so little time. Stay tuned for the rest of my report…