The name came to me about two years ago, but the idea arrived in a humid rec hall in Camp Kennybrook in July 1977. It was the Summer of Sam and all kinds of chaos I couldn’t quite fathom. Chaos seemed normal back then. And camp life was great and you could see it reach back through the 1970s to the 1960s and even to the 1950s through all the banners and plaques that were on display. Teenagers were legends and had names like Freaky, Fruity, and Wimpy. New legends were born every summer. I was in Bunk One and after we sang a couple of songs, our group plaque was hung in the rec hall with all the other plaques from 3 different decades. I don’t remember what our group called ourselves, but my name along with Lance Jacobs, Jeff Singer, Scotty Dolgoff, Rock Glotzer, and Philip Garine was sloppily handwritten on a 2’x2’ white plaque that I hope still hangs in that rec hall today.
I haven’t spoken to the boys in Bunk One in over 30 years but I remember what we were like at age 8, the few summers we had through the 1980s, and the feeling I had that my name was permanently on a wall of history. I hope to re-connect with them if just for a short bit. And to have everyone re-connect with their early summers and to document the ways that camp life has changed over the years and the things that never change. To see the plaques and banners once again as they were and as they are. To see old friends as they were and as they are. To read old song lyrics that could only have been written in a particular time and place.
How is it that I have met countless people over the years from a variety of backgrounds and camps and we all have the same fundamental experience? And we all clearly distinguish that experience from everything else in our lives? How is it that we leave camp but never let go? And why are the faces and voices and artifacts not collected, preserved, and shared properly? The experience is not as ephemeral as some would describe it. Now we have a proper place to give the experience and memories a home and a structure for everyone. Every camp you enter is its own living museum. I was 8 years old inside a rec hall that would speak to me for the rest of my life. The Museum Of Camp.