Things I've Learned

Things I've Learned: I Love Family Camp

There are so many things that Baby from Dirty Dancing and I have in common. I’m the baby in my family and my older brother growing up was only concerned with coral shoes, losing his virginity and iridescent beige lipstick. Everybody put me in the corner. And I always borrowed my Dad’s money to buy other people’s abortions. Sorry, Dad!

But the biggest thing that the Houseman family and mine have in common is that we attend family camp. In fact, we have gone every year since I was a 1-year-old. That is a lot of years – and no, I wont tell you how many! (Thirty.)

The Kellerman’s Mountain Retreat was more resort, less camp. But let’s face it – it’s still family camp. Mine, on the other hand, is a more traditional summer camp but the two share many of the same elements. We carry watermelons. There are secret parties in the woods. And of course there is a distinct line between the campers the staffers. I definitely didn’t make out with one of the camp counselors named Chris for two summers. Never happened.

The Houseman’s summer camp seems idyllic but a little soft. Every year (yes, we still go) we ride horses, try for bull’s-eye’s in archery, belt out songs at sing-a-longs, capsize a few boats while sailing and, of course, lots of arts and crafting. Did I mention riflery? That’s right, my entire family shoots guns. Let me clarify: my entire Jewish family shoots guns together. SUP!?!

Where we really put the Houseman family on the trailer is the talent show. I use the term talent very loosely but lovingly. There’s no dancing but some of it is definitely dirty. And almost all of it being performed by my parents. Both were theater majors in college, so it’s fair to say they like to dominate. In fact, my father has served as the 4th week’s master of ceremonies for almost 30 years.

And because I’ve attending a camp with my family for my whole life, I’ve had to learn a few necessary lessons about not being embarrassed. The first lesson is how you look. It’s the one week of the year where you can actually wear sweatpants all day, everyday and feel great about it. The other important lesson is that your parents are dorks. They will dork out at camp. And so should you. And finally, it’s always good to remember that nothing will ever be as important as the time you spend with your family, so make sure that you have fun while your doing it.

For all my many years attending, watching, laughing and sharing in amazing moments with my family, I can safely say I’ve had the time of my life (Awwww, barf).

Photo credit: BBC

  • Abby Topolsky

    This is hilarious – the thought of all of you shooting rifles is really just beyond. As a fellow family camper (SF Family Camp Mather – REPRESENT), I share in the joy that comes from talent shows and sweatpants for a week in nature setting. Thanks for the laughs!

  • Nicole Adriance

    i had no idea family camp existed. now, i feel a void. i felt it after i watched dan in real life and here it is again. where do i sign up?!

  • Reilly P. Brennan

    I am jealous of a family unit that can go to camp together. I could barely muster going by myself. Totally jealous, Foster.

  • Lindsey Post Robinson

    I went to family camp every year with my family as well. my parents stopped going once all of us kids were out of the house but I still miss it! And the talent shows, of course!

  • Caitlin Mitchell

    Such a great story my little tap dancer! I carried the watermelon too.

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