What camp is really all about

“It was like we had our daughter back.”

When I read those words while editing this issue, I think I had my first glimpse of what summer camp is really all about.

Camp is a big deal at Minnesota Parent — because it’s a big deal to our readers. But unfortunately I never actually went to camp myself.

Working here for seven years has meant I’ve worked on a lot of camp content, so I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the camp thing. Until I read the story with the daughter who was truly “back” when she returned from camp.
The girl is nine-year-old Autumn, and she attended Camp Kesem, which is featured in this issue beginning on page 31. 
And Camp Kesem is a camp for kids with a parent who has battled cancer. And it’s a pretty great example of the power of camp.

There’s a quote from the camp co-director a little further along in the story: “We want to make sure that camp is one week of pure fun.”

Maybe that quote isn’t as dramatic as the first one. Or maybe it is. The idea that a group of kids facing such a challenge could get together with the goal of “pure fun” is pretty powerful.

Camp Kesem isn’t about therapy, nor is it about providing an escape. Camp Kesem is about the same thing that all camps are about: A group of kids with something in common — be it an interest, a talent, a challenge or whatever — put together to have some fun.

Throw in a little shared anxiety, newfound independence, and some new responsibilities — and a funny thing happens. Kids gain confidence. Here I’ll give you a third quote from the feature.

“If it weren’t for Camp Kesem I would probably still be like a turtle hiding in its shell.”

That one, from Autumn herself, sums it all up.

I never went to camp myself, but now I do think I’m starting to understand what it’s really about.





Dana Croatt, Interim Editor