Thursday 12 September 2013

Camp/Muskoka Memories

There are very few shows that I follow on a weekly basis and consider "must watch"- in fact, I can count them on one hand. But, a TV show that was a "must watch" for me this summer was Camp (Wikipedia page here and IMDb page here). When I originally heard about this show, I knew it was something I wanted to watch and I thought it would be set at a traditional summer camp. But it was actually set at a family summer camp, Little Otter.

As I watched the show, I realized that "camp" as portrayed on this series was very similar to my "Muskoka resort" experiences. 

Every summer, my dad would take our family to a resort in the Muskokas for a week (would have been amazing to go for the entire summer but with commitments, it wasn't possible). We stayed in a cabin, on a lake, interacted with resort/camp counsellors and participated in summer camp activities- camp fires, talent shows, boating, tye dying, etc. I loved every minute of it.

I met a lot of amazing people- other guests who became 'best friends' and counsellors who became mentors, even if it was just for one week. These were people who shared in some of my happiest summer memories and who gave me valuable life advice. These were people, who looking back, played small but important roles in my life. 

It would take too long to go into details of specific memories...and hard to pick a couple 'favourite' memories. Even if I could pick a 'favourite' explaining it wouldn't have to do it justice- you had to be there. 

I still have gimp bracelets made by girls who were my 'best friend' and counsellors who took me under their wing. I still have pictures taped to the back of my childhood bedroom door from one of my last Muskoka summers, which I look at every time I'm home. I still laugh at our 'Invisible Bench' sketch ("What are you doing?" "We're sitting on the invisible bench." "But the invisible bench is over there [pointing across the room]." "Oh no [everyone falls to the floor]!" See...not funny when you type it out, but funny when you see/remember it). I still can't look at The Rugrats (the cartoon) the same way I did before a night spent in the main lodge with horrible television reception. And, I bet, I still have the very first t-shirt I ever tye dyed.

Watching Camp brought me back to all of those summers. I would watch something on the show, such as the overnight camping trip, and be reminded of my own  experience, like the overnight camping trip the resort staff took the teens on. I frequently think back to those resort summers but it was kind of fun to watch similar experiences on tv and to relive them in a pseudo way.

The time spent in the Muskokas were always a blast, but leaving and saying goodbye were always hard. Especially knowing that I might never see these people again-and with the exception of one guy who ended up living in my residence at Brock (totally weird and a story for another time) and one girl I found on Facebook, I never did see or have contact with any of them again. My Muskoka summers were long before Facebook, Twitter, Skype, texting, even MySpace and Hi5. This was in the early days of email, MSN and while I had all three, not everyone else did.

I have fond memories of  my time spent at Muskoka Resorts and I honestly believe that the Muskokas are one the most beautiful parts of Canada. I know if I were to go to the Muskokas now, my experience as an adult would be very different than my experience as a kid or even a teen. 

Would I go back as an adult? Without a second thought. Would I go back in time to my kid and/or teen years? In a heartbeat. Will I settle for "reliving" my experience via Camp the TV show? Absolutely. 

I can't express how much I love the TV show Camp or how much happiness it brought me, bringing me back to my Muskoka Resort days. Like this show, my Muskoka Resort days, friends and experiences will always have a special place in my heart and forever bring me back to my carefree start of summer days.

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