Zoe is not in this picture, but apparently she did this exact activity!

Yesterday she slept till 11 o’clock. She had fun at the pool yesterday afternoon but seems a little blue and kind of dazed, with occasional bursts of energy, since she came home from camp. I know it’s a lot to process. I know after experiencing such a major moment in your life–an entire week away from your family–it’s hard to come down. I’m so happy she had fun and I’m trying so hard to be patient as she reacclimates to her regular life. 

I asked her to write about her experience but the prospect was totally overwhelming, so I interviewed her and wrote it all down. 

Q: What was the most surprising thing about camp?

A: The most surprising thing about camp was getting to stay up till 10:00! After we got in bed we had flashlight time and we made shadow animals on the walls.

Q: What were your five favorite things about camp?

A: Kids, counselors, activities, horses, how much social time we got.

Q: What kind of chores did you have to do?

A: In the cabin we had to sweep, line up the shoes on the porch, take out the trash, clear the bathroom of people’s stuff, and make our beds. Another chore was being gopher, which meant we had to leave early to go to the dining hall, we had to set the table with silverware and get two pitchers of ice water. We had to go to the kitchen to get all the food. If anyone wanted seconds we had to get it for them. At the end we had to clear the table, put silverware in different buckets and empty liquids into two liquid buckets and sponge down the table. I volunteered to be the gopher for dinner the first night we were there. I liked being the gopher because it was fun to be in charge of everything.

Q: How was the food?

A: Delicious. One night we had a cookout and at the cookout we had taco skillet and vegetables. There were Fritos to dip in them and water and lemonade.

Q: What were some of your favorite events?

A: One of them was cabin cleanup, which was whoever had the cleanest cabins at the end of the week won, and we won (Blue Jays won). Guess what our prize was? Breakfast in our cabin. We got to sleep in 15 minutes late on Saturday and our counselors brought us breakfast. Another event I liked was color wars. Color Wars is when the whole camp volunteers for a bunch of different activities. There are three teams—red/superheroes, purple/supernatural (my team), and green/super-villains. Some of the activities were dodge ball, four-legged race, a kayaking race, sink the canoe (a game where 12 people from each team go in the water and 6 people on either side of the canoe and a counselor was on each end. One counselor was in the water holding the canoe underneath and another was sitting on it. When they said go all the kids would start splashing as much water as possible into the canoe and whoever sank the canoe first won). There was watermelon relay where several people from each team would go into the water in a line and turn around and one person would start by passing the watermelon over their head, the next person would pass it under their legs. They would do it in a pattern until they go to the last person. The first person to get it back to the crate won. There was tube relay where the first person would lie on their belly on the tube and paddle across the lake. When they got to the other side they would give the tube to the person waiting for them and they would swim to shore. The person who got the tube got on the tube and swam across to the dock where everyone was waiting. The first team to complete that won. There was also smallest splash off the waterslide and biggest splash off the high dive.

Q: Tell me about your cabin.

A: There were seven kids who slept there including me and there was one person who came as a day camper. It was the first year at camp for everyone in my cabin. My closest friends were named Oakley and Ellie. The counselors were named Kate and Maria. Kate is from Russia and Maria is from Spain. At bedtime Kate would sing a Russian lullaby to us to help us fall asleep. Maria woke us up in the morning. When my fan stopped working, Maria came over to my bed at night and blow on me and stroke my hair. Another girl in my cabin, Lauren, was pretty crazy. Every day she did yoga and everyone’s favorite pose to watch her do was the crazy dancer. She made up yoga poses. Sometimes during cabin time Lauren would do hilarious shows on her bed, sometimes with other people. In one of the shows she tried to imitate everyone’s voices, that didn’t work out so well. At bedtime she didn’t like to shower so she would have a huge fake temper tantrum. One night when the counselors finally got her into the bathroom she said, “can i sing in the shower?” and we said sure, just not too loud. So she immediately started singing “Why you gotta be so cruel?”

Q: Did you get any mail at camp?

A: Yes, I got 13 pieces of mail, so much that I couldn’t even read it all while I was there. I had to read some of it on the way home in the car. It made me very happy to hear from people and lots of the letters were funny.

Q: Tell me about the horses.

A: I spent three hours every morning riding. My horse was named Chocolate Chip, but I called him Chip. The counselors called him Chipwich. I learned to trot and I learned how to go into two-point, which was holding on to the horse’s reins and mane and lifting your bottom up out of the saddle and holding your shoulders back. That’s to stay stable while the horse is trotting. One day one of the counselors made a big x in the middle of the indoor ring. The first three times my horse went over it, he trotted up like he was supposed to and then he slowed down and stepped over it. But the fourth time he jumped! I had not learned to jumped yet so I fell forward off the saddle and onto the horse’s neck and let go of the reins. I was just holding onto his mane. It was terrifying. There were five girls including me in my riding group. They were all at least two years older than me. One day we took a horse named Bugz Bunny to the river and rode bareback in a circle in the river. While we were waiting for our turn or after we had a turn we got to swim in the river. We could not go past the lifeguards. Even though there was a current we were perfectly safe.

Q: Tell me about the other swimming you did.

A: The first few days for free swim (after lunch) we went to the pool. The pool was very big and there was a diving board and a deep end but the deep end wasn’t roped off. Anyone could be there anytime and you didn’t have to wait for the diving board to be done. I went off the diving board a lot at the pool. At the lake there was rope swing, diving board, zipline, and high dive and water slide. I went off the diving board and I went on the rope swing but I never let go so I just came straight back to the counselors. Woopsie! I was going to go off the waterslide but free swim was over just as it was my turn.

Q: Tell me about your afternoon activities.

A: My first afternoon activity was archery. I hit the target! It was very tricky to though. There’s a lot more stuff to archery than you might think. My second afternoon activity was pottery. I made a little taco, a face that said ZR and CF for Zoe Rosso Camp Friendship, and I made a pot but I lost it. It was very lopsided though. Next year I would like to do gymnastics and fishing.

Q: Tell me about what you did at night.

A: On the first night we had campfire, when the whole camp went to a special area and a few counselors lit a big fire. And then after the fire a lot of people come up to the stage to perform. Counselors and campers performed songs, dances, skits, and plain old funny things. They taught us dances. Another night there was a big soccer game between the Camp Friendship counselors and counselors from another camp. Another night there was a big cookout where we had tacos. Two nights we made s’mores at a campfire in junior girls village. Another night we had a huge dance. Everybody came. They played songs like “Honey I’m Good,” a song from Mulan, “Shut Up and Dance with Me,” and “Uptown Funk.” I danced a lot. It was awesome.

Q: Do you want to go back?

A: Yes, I totally want to go back next year for two weeks. I want to go back because I had a lot of fun and I was really sad when I had to come home.

Q: Was there anything interesting you learned there?

A: I thought that learning how to muck a horse’s stall, groom a horse, and tack up a horse was very cool. I even gave a horse a bath. I also thought it was really cool to learn to shoot a bow and arrow.