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Carol Perkins: Fond memories - I love 4-H
'All in all, 4-H Camp gave us an early opportunity to learn to take care of ourselves and our things, as well as social skills and tolerance of others. I didn't realize I was learning at the time, but I now know how important these summers were to my development. I didn't win any blue ribbons for my camping skills, but I won a lifetime of memories. Camp isn't for everyone, but it was certainly for me. If your child wants to go, I would say "pack his bags." - CAROL PERKINS
Next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: A day late and a dollar short
By Carol Perkins
Although adventurous in other ways, I'm not a "go camping" kind of woman. I have never, nor will I ever, sleep in a tent under the stars with no facilities within steps of my urgencies. Heading to the lake on the weekends is far down my list of fun things to do and I am not interested in boating or sailing. That doesn't mean I don't envy those who like to do those things because I do. I wish I loved the water, the outdoors, and that laid-back outdoor lifestyle, but I don't.
The only time I was near a lake as a girl was when my parents would drive over to Dale Hollow on a Sunday afternoon or take me along when they went fishing, but by then I was a teenager.
With this in mind, one would hardly think I would have counted down the days until 4-H Camp when I was a girl, but I did. I love 4-H. I loved the camp. I loved the lake.
Camp Bingham. Some of my happiest memories took place at this camp where I didn't mind roughin' it for a week because the rewards were worth the sacrifices.
The cabins were rustic. The bathrooms were across the path in the shower rooms. Bunk beds lined the cabin. Most girls wanted the top bunk, probably because bunk beds were a rarity for us. The girl on the bottom often pushed the springs of the top bunk with her feet, causing the person on top to bounce when she least expected it. I was so skinny, I feared sailing off and crashing through the window.
I loved the activities of camp. I still have some of the crafts, including a jewelry box with a tiled top. Those tiny tiles, glued with white paste, were uneven, but a prize to me. I found mine masterpiece the other day and placed it in my kitchen window. I don't know why, but I can see myself around the table gluing on those tiles while others did the same.
Canoeing was great fun because we glided up and down the river each day in what I remember to be more of a stream than a river. I don't remember life jackets, but if the canoe tipped over the water was probably only knee deep. The new feeling of freedom was in that canoe and I embraced it.
Specifically, archery class was the most difficult for me and the least favorite of all activities simply because I was not good at it and hurt myself. Having never shot a bow and arrow except for toy ones bought at the dime store when my brother and I played cowboys and Indians, I was clueless on technique. After a few tries, my right arm hurt and stayed red for hours after because I continuously stung myself when I fired at my target. The arrow often took a nose dive into the ground.
Swimming was everyone's favorite because we had access to a pool every day, which was a new experience. That is where I learned to swim and dive. I found diving painful because my head felt like it was going to explode when I hit the water. I won no ribbons for diving but I came home with a good tan. The memory of the pool is as clear as if I had been there last week.
The highlight of each day was the night. We cleaned up in our communal showers (with curtains for privacy), put on our best cute little outfits, and sat around a bonfire singing "Kum Ba Yah," danced "Sally Down the Alley" with boys and told tall tales. Even at the young age of 10 or 12, we girls scouted for boys to be our pen pals when we came back home, to brag about to our non-attending friends, or to pine over knowing we would not see that person for another year. We fell in and out of love at 4-H camp.
All in all, 4-H Camp gave us an early opportunity to learn to take care of ourselves and our things, as well as social skills and tolerance of others. I didn't realize I was learning at the time, but I now know how important these summers were to my development. I didn't win any blue ribbons for my camping skills, but I won a lifetime of memories.
Camp isn't for everyone, but it was certainly for me. If your child wants to go, I would say "pack his bags." Today we're so afraid to let a kid out of our sight, but he is well protected at 4-H Camp. I just hope campers still sing camp songs and play "Sally Down the Alley."
This story was posted on 2015-10-15 02:58:28
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More articles from topic Carol Perkins:
Carol Perkins: A day late and a dollar short
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Carol Perkins: On spending money
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