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Keep letter-home tradition alive by choosing your own misadventure

Sun., July 21, 2013

The letter home from summer camp is an American classic.

These dispatches from the canoes and crafts backcountry have long been a seasonal ritual cherished by parents on the receiving end.

But times change. And we need to keep up.

Today’s wired, overscheduled children are apt to suggest that they will not have time to write. Or they might argue that they would not know what to say to the parental units in a letter home from camp.

Well, here’s a tip. Don’t fire back with “What do you mean you won’t have time to write? They make you send a letter home!”

And don’t go with “Won’t know what to say? Well, how come you manage to think of things to say in messages to your friends 16,000 times a day?”

No, there’s a better way.

Just send your child off to camp with a fill-in-the-blanks letter-home template, courtesy of the Today section.

Your child will find several formats from which to choose. Then all your special camper needs to do is plug in a few personalizing details and fire it off. Everyone will be happy.

Traditional letters

Dear ( ),

I told you I would (    ) it here, and I do.

The bugs are surreal. I had not been here five minutes when a major (    ) got me right on my (    ). I now have a welt the size of (    ). They’ll probably have to amputate.

I would call in a helicopter to evac me the (    ) out of here, but we’re allowed to use our electronics only once a day.

My bunkmate smells like (    ) and appears to have become the living host for a voracious rash.

That kid did teach me a new word, though. Ever heard (    ) used as a verb? It might be nasty, I don’t know.

Also I learned what to do if a cute (    ) wants to touch my (    ). Seems gross, but what are you gonna do?

The food here reminds me of (    ). Tonight it’s Soylent Green. Please accept my heartfelt apology for ever having disparaged the fare at my good home.

Some of the other kids in my cabin must have seen a lot of prison movies. They keep talking about (    ). One seemingly feral youth keeps threatening to (    ) in the (    ). Haven’t a clue what that’s all about. That kid has issues badminton and hikes won’t fix.

To call the bathroom facilities primitive would be an affront to nature. Let’s just say I won’t be (    ) until I get home, assuming I survive the (    ). I already lost one of my flip-flops down the (    ) and have no intention of looking for it. Also, my (    ) is missing. Please overnight me a replacement.

The grim kid who was named commandant of our cabin reads aloud from a book called “Lord of the Flies.” I don’t really listen, but one serial bed-wetter keeps passing me notes that say (    ).

Last night, I had nightmares about that movie (    ). Thanks so much for letting me watch that.

The counselors all seem to be under the influence of (    ). The one named (    ) keeps (    ) and muttering.

(    ) lessons are tomorrow morning. I might not survive.

If I don’t make it, tell my little brother he can have my (    ). And tell Bad Kitty I will miss her.

It’s lights out now. I just discovered that someone put a squishy (    ) in my bunk. Can’t beat laconic humor.

I would say I (    ) this camp, but you know I don’t like to complain.

Sounds like a growling (    ) is clawing at the side of the cabin.

I’m crying.

Your loving ( ),

( )

• • •  

Dear Mom and Dad,

Today at Camp (    ) we had a simulated Lewis and Clark experience. I counseled an immediate return to St. Louis. (    ) said I wasn’t getting into the spirit of the event. So I said my parents didn’t raise any (    ).

The vibe got tense. Otherwise, things are (    ).

Please don’t move away or (    ) while I am here.

(    ) yours,

(    )


Hi, ( )

I have been instructed to inform you that I handled the mouth parts of a rabid (    ), but am OK. Also, I have been directed to remind you that such incidents are covered by the (    ) waivers you signed before I was remanded to Camp (    ).

You remember Leonard Skinner? There was an incident during leather crafts. Services will be held back in (    ).

I now know, first hand, the difference between poison (    ) and poison (    ).

One kid whining about a snake in his bunk had to go home. At least that’s where I think he went. He was babbling incoherently when they (    ) at about 2 a.m. What’s “intubate”?

Another camper projectile (    ) all over the table during a leadership skills session. What a (    ). And then one of the counselors went around asking who else had eaten the (    ) at lunch.

Going out on a boat tomorrow. The counselor in charge says (    ) builds character and that life preservers are for losers.

My bunkmate smuggled in a music player and has a song called “The End” by a group called The Doors on auto repeat. That same kid showed me how to put a homemade tattoo on my inner (    ).

I’m told the festival of flora has been replaced with “Woodstock 2013” and we’ll be experiencing three days of (    ) and love with the randy campers across the lake.

I am fine and look forward to (    ).

That discoloration in my (    ) seems to be clearing up, but now I have an acute case of (    ). Boy, if it’s not one thing it’s (    ).

We’ve all been given Indian chief names. I am Low Dog. Apparently this is because of my tendency to (    ).

Tell my little sister to keep her grubby mitts off my (    ).

Oh, yeah. Yesterday, I officially became a (    ).


( )

• • •  

Greetings from Camp ( ),

Passed out from lack of screen time and mosquito-caused blood loss. Have lake water in my (    ) and can’t get it out. Suffered a minor (    ) while helping to extinguish our campfire in the authentic Camp (    ) way. Ouch!

Thought I heard the call of a loon last night but it was just a kid in my cabin who had eaten a lot of (    ) at dinner.

I’ve signed up for “Crafts ’n’ Stuff” and “Facebook (    ).” But I might be too busy scratching my (    ) scabs to attend either.

Looking forward to seeing you Saturday. I’ll be the one with the (    ) wrapped in a bandage.

Yours very truly,

( )


* Woody Allen summed it up when he declared himself to be “Two with nature.” (    ) me now.

* Witnessed some hazing and (    ). My bunkmate said he could eat 50 (    ).

* Sign on our cabin door says “I’d (    ) back if (    ) were you.”

* We’re having “Star Trek” day Monday and I have been designated an expendable (    ) shirt.

* Just learned that your facts of life talk left out the part about (    ). So embarrassed.

* I am curious (    ).

* A counselor told me you guys were wrong to vote for (    ).

* Camp (    ) reminds me of “Reservoir Dogs” but without the warmth.

* My bunkmate sat up and (    ) in the middle of the night.

* This place is near (    ) and nearly (    ).

* All the (    ) here are nihilists.

* Ensconced in ticks and (    ).


* About to eat lunch. We’re having (    ).

* Had lunch. We had (    ).

* Bunkmate snores like rip-saw. Operating on (    ) sleep.

* There are (    ) kids here with my name, though all are spelled in different ways.

* Seminar after lunch about how grade-schoolers can generate billable hours by (    ).

* A raccoon ate my (    ) medicine. That scamp.

* Echoes of early scenes in “Full Metal Jacket” as we listen to (    ) orientation.

* Smoke from forest fires hampered our night sky seminar. So we’re (    ) instead.

* Guess where on my (    ) I managed to get a blister?

* The one word that would summarize my reaction to summer camp is (    ).

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