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Summer Camp Wasn’t What Movies Made Me Think It Was

Summer Camp Wasn’t What Movies Made Me Think It Was

Don’t you just love camp? It’s just the best. Or maybe it’s the worst? That opinion probably depends on if and where you went to camp yourself — or which television and movies you’ve watched. Because by and large, it is through their depictions of unrealistic expectations of childhood milestones that shape our view of things. High school wasn’t quite like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and college wasn’t much like Felicity, either. Most of the time pop culture puts extremely heavy importance on what’s likely to be an insignificant memory. So when I was sent to camp for the first time, I had the highest expectations for a life altering experience. But nothing was quite as I’d imagined. Here’s a few disappointing camp expectations that were never quite met.

You don’t have a long-lost twin British sister

parent trapPhoto: Disney

Despite what The Parent Trap may have tried to convince us, we don’t all have twin British sisters to discover at camp. This was very disappointing to me. My grandmother is British so I felt like if it would happen to anyone, it would be me. But alas, no one at camp wanted to be my sister or even just my friend really. It was a lot more pranks and a little less falling in love. Lindsay Lohan really led me astray in this one.

You aren’t allowed to force the camp director to leave

heavy weightsPhoto: Walt Disney Company

For the amount I disliked summer camp, you’d think I had a crazy camp director like Ben Stiller in Heavy Weights. I didn’t — but that really did not keep me from wishing I could force members of the camp staff to disappear. Not only did they ignore my pleas to go home, but encouraged such activities as “group participation” and “fun.” What kind of prison is this? Let me have my books and read them too.

You can’t run away with the love of your life (or at all)

moonrise kingdomPhoto: Focus Features

When I saw Moonrise Kingdom, I saw two kids accomplish what I’d hope for during my childhood camp experience. All I wanted to do was run away and pretend to be an adult. I didn’t want to smoke or anything that bad, but is it too much to ask to just read or be alone? Unfortunately, I was neither wilderness trained nor brave enough to attempt to run away from camp so I settled into my bunk, closed my eyes and wished for it to be over.

You don’t find a new rich family there to adopt you

it takes twoPhoto: Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

It Takes Two has a lot of…let’s call them misrepresentations. When I went to camp, I neither discovered another awesomely rich family to adopt me nor did I find a new love interest for my father. This seems like a lot to expect in a single camp experience. Although, running into my doppelgänger and finding out I’m in some sort of Orphan Black-type situation sure would’ve been a life-changer.

In reality, camp could never live up to the expectations of a two hour movie. It’s just a bunch of kids forced to live in a cabin for an extended period of time without killing one another or the adults meant to protect them. It’s a singular childhood experience that probably wouldn’t fundamentally change the outcome of your life. But honestly, I called my parents to pick me up on day three and never went back. So what do I know?

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