Oh my how times have changed. Televisions are now hanging on walls, Walkmans have turned into iPods, eight-track tapes have turned into thin air, cameras have turned into phones…the list is endless. When we went to sleepaway camp (and when I say “we” I am not referring to me because my one month in camp Hillel aka the longest month of my life, does not count) our parents sent us on a bus, saw us four weeks later on visiting day and then did not see us again until we came home four weeks after that. (Another thing that has changed, eight weeks in a sleepaway camp. Price is twice as much, camp is slowly dwindling down to a solid seven weeks…)
We got letters. Remember the letter? When you sat down at a desk and wrote words to someone in long-hand. No lol’s or omg’s or ttyls…ah, the good old days when words were words and abbreviations weren’t in style. There were no snack boxes or food packages, the canteen was always good enough in the olden days. Now we send refrigerators and frozen hot dogs and George Forman grills and hide personal chefs in our children’s trunks (and when I say “we,” again, I am not talking about me…)
Camp has changed. If you are no longer in this stage of life, or you have yet to enter this stage of life, go on any camp website and you will see what I mean. I am referring specifically to the picture section of the website. When my boys first started going to sleepaway camp (and I know how lucky I am that I can send them there, thank you husband #1) they would post hundreds of pictures.
My eyesight was better all those years ago and I was able to comb through all of the photos looking for my beautiful boys. Since I don’t have girls, I was able to eliminate those photos right away, but would almost feel bad for the parents who had to squint at every single one of those teeny tiny snapshots, hoping to catch a glimpse of their child. Every morning, the same routine and every time I would see my kid’s face, I would squeal with delight (even if he was wearing the same shirt).
The camps got smarter and started dividing the photos into “mostly boys” and “mostly girls.” That has made my life a lot easier (sorry “mostly girls” I am not looking at your pictures, but I am sure you all look great). You can also click on these photos and post them on Facebook or email them to friends and relatives (because everyone wants to see pictures of your kid). This year, my kid’s camp was trying out a new gimmick where, for a small fee, you can have access to pictures of just your child. For another small fee, at the end of the summer, you can have a 60-second video of your child’s summer sent to you.
Kids, this is where I draw the line. I love you boys, but I am not paying extra to see pictures of just you. I pay enough for camp. I pay enough extra for all of the snacks I have to send with you to camp (and on visiting day, but no snacks can be sent at any other time because they will be confiscated and I learned my lesson last year when I went to the office hoping to get back all of those bottles of Powerade I tried sneaking in).
Though I am still waiting to see a picture of both of my boys together, preferably hugging (like that would ever happen), I am content to see the random photo of son #3 smiling with his friends and son #1 taking good care of his campers (and yes, he is taking good care of them but, no, I have yet to see a picture of him with them…). It got me thinking, if camps can take pictures of their campers and post them on a website, is there a chance that the schools in Israel can do the same thing? Is this possible? Does anyone know? Who do I have to “pay extra” to, to make this happen? Please let me know, because it will be worth every penny…
Hope you are all having a wonderful summer with kids home, kids away, you home, you away…just in good health and happiness and don’t forget to smile for the camera!
By Banji Latkin Ganchrow