Monday, July 12, 2010

Ghetto Camp

I wasn't going to even use the term "ghetto camp" on my blog because I was feeling too politically correct and I'm sort of disgusted by people of means, myself included, that lift words like ghetto, words that signify something serious, something that I actually know nothing about, but then I thought what the hell, I think it's funny to call the camp where I dropped my oldest son off this morning ghetto camp to signify that it's right here in Los Angeles, in a giant park and that it was incredibly cheap, cheap enough for us to afford when we are literally three steps away from insolvency.


I dropped my oldest son off at Ghetto Camp today. But before we got there, we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off getting ready. Oliver had earlier insisted that he did NOT want to go to overnight camp, so I signed him up to play soccer all week. Soccer is my sport, he told me during baseball season, not baseball. This morning, naturally, he decided that soccer is boring and he wished that I had LET him go to camp. The boys have been home from school, now, for two weeks, and they've been playing and having a good old time, but let's just say that their bickering and wrestling that goes a little beyond play is getting irritating to me. They're getting on each other's nerves as well, so having a week apart was going to be good, I thought. Because I'm a bad mother, Oliver is nine years old and still doesn't know how to tie his shoes, and because they are going to be apart from one another for five whole days, and love each other so much (sarcasm implied), imagine my surprise when I came upon this freaky scene:

Henry helps Oliver tie his cleats.

After tearful good-byes, Henry and I left the house and drove up to Ghetto Camp. Henry said that he was so excited but his stomach felt weird. That's butterflies, I said, and I realized how much I love that expression. It turns out that Ghetto Camp is adorable -- like something lifted from my childhood. It looked like a mini version of Yosemite, actually, with pine straw everywhere, birds singing and a cool breeze blowing through the pines.

The only thing that looked remotely ghettoish was this

and I didn't ask any questions.

Henry randomly got a bunk with one of his best friends --

And I tried not to cry when I hugged him good-bye.


  1. He will probably have the time of his life.

  2. I remember Girl Scout camp, more than 40 years ago. And I still build a good fire from what I learned there, although I've never tried to cook in the fireplace since most of the camp food we made was either burned or raw-ish. I can still weave a lanyard and probably could shoot an arrow. Henry will also have memories from camp and will grow from the time.

    You're a great mother. Oliver's shoes have nothing to do with that.

  3. apparently my mother had a simular awakening..

    we were to get ready for a birthday party...and my mother sat on the ege of the bed and said "tommy, why aren't you putting on your shoes?? we are not leaving for this party until your shoes are on and tied."

    finally he sheepishly placed a shoe slowly on his foot, hoping she would leave the room. no luck. placed the next shoe on, looked sideways hoping again with his motions towards readiness she would be on her way towards the door.

    it was obivious she was going no where. so he finally walked woefully over to his little kid sister and sat down.

    that is when she discovered i had been tieing his shoes all along.

    camp should be perfect,
    for so many reasons.

  4. This brings back memories of my camp experience. My parents drove me to Camp Bethel (our church camp), showed me around, introduced me to my counselor and when they left to go home, I went with them!! Maybe that's why today my idea of roughing it is Motel 6 and why I am a Unitarian.


  5. Jack wouldn't even let me hug him when we drpped him off last week.

    He had the time of his life. Just like Ms Moon said.

  6. I am sure he will enjoy it immensely.

  7. Camp - even "GhettoCamp" (love the term the way you used it) - is awesome and a great gift for kids growing up. I know it's hard to leave them, but camp is something we can't give them at home. For instance: archery, horseback riding, improvised skits in front of a live audience, Camp food, age-old camp songs around the campfire, capture the flag, carnival, dancing with peers, camp crushes - these are not available in at home. I can't wait to hear how he likes it!

  8. I always managed to hold it in and then had a good cry when I got back to the car. Miss those camp days.

  9. There are some who consider the girls' summer program "ghetto" because it's one of the cheapest around. But I've learned that ghetto can be all heart! Hope he has the time of his life.

  10. that is the sweetest with the laces... just when you thought that they would tear each other apart. time for lace "camp".

    he'll have a blast. i mean, he is bunking with one of his best friends. what is there not to like? then, when you see him next, you will be thrilled to see him after that little break. can't wait to hear all about it, elizabeth!

  11. loved this post, Elizabeth,
    late to comment as usual.

    Henry will forever have camp fire smoke in his hair . Long after the smell fades.
    You will have some nasty laundry, he will have a week of his own stories to tell or not.

    I'm willing to bet Oliver is holding back on the shoe thing . You've taught him that people can rely on each other sometimes, regardless. That's very good mothering.

  12. it looks great!
    it looks like it could be like going back in time by about 30 yrs.

    Up here where I live .... small town americana hoakyville .... your "ghetto camp" would be called "white trash" camp. Which when I first heard the WT word (only 10 yrs ago and out of the mouth of a PTA lady) I just about fell over at the vulgarity of it. "Ghetto" or "barrio" is mild .... unfortunately WT, over the yrs, is becoming mild to me too.

  13. just did a bit of catching up. so glad that the first treatment finally happened, and that henry had a good time at camp. i wonder what my boys' accommodation was like exactly, but i'm glad i didn't see, and that they came home happy. baci.



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