Dearest friend,

My oldest has just returned to her end of summer sleep-away camp and I couldn’t be more jealous. Sleep away camp was one of the most memorable times in my youth. For a city kid, a week of swimming every day, the hikes and sleeping outside among the crickets, and the patter of rain was idilic. I was a kid that adored structure and because we had a set list of activities and a variety of rituals to follow (including the right way to scrape your plates),

I fell into the whole experience feet first. My first councilor was a camping aficionado. She would take us on walks and showed us plants to keep an eye out for (good and bad), how to roll a sleeping bag PROPERLY, and she loved her afternoon nap so much so that, if we weren’t zonked, it was the perfect time to walk through the woods with your best camp friend and talk about life.

Is there anything better than huddling under blankets, singing around a campfire as the sun sets over the lake? Is there anything better than promises of writing letters until you got to see your camp friends again next year? Is there anything better than all the little trophies and crests for a job well done?

I miss the days of camp and lament that there are no “summer camps” for parents/adults. The closest I got to one was a retreat for moms (and women and their girlfriends) to get a weekend away to take some lessons in…well, anything they were offering. I was brought up to teach Improv, to the horror of the yoga workshop that had to listen to us howling with laughter the whole time our classes ran at the same time. The biggest difference, other than the wonderful cabin that we stayed at, was that wine was waiting for us as soon as we landed. Wine was everywhere, so were spa packages and shopping. We did cross-country skiing, painted, and sat around talking. I met one of my good friends there, another guest instructor doing a workshop on fellatio. An ex-adult film actress and a professional escort…you know it was love at first sight!

Her girlfriend was there as well and the three of us were inseparable, giggling our faces off, no filters needed, just happy to be with women who were there to unwind.

I didn’t get my camp songs, but I hosted a talent show. And the camp fire was replaced with a fireplace, still under blankets, but instead of marshmallows, we had wine…again.

I think the desire to still make new friends, to have a summer of learning and exploring, is still in us. Gone are the days where we just packed up a bag and dove into fun without having to think “How can I afford this?”

There are several programs that are free for kids during the summer, sports camps mainly. I would love to see a free city program for parents, a “camp” day for us. No, we don’t need the wine, although that would be nice. But we want our marshmallows and our camp songs, and I’ll write a letter at least once before we see each other the following year.

Until the day we see that camp.

Your cabin mate,


About the Author

Stephanie Herrera is a comedian, writer, producer, teacher, singer, actor, mother of 4, and shallow philosopher. She runs the Durham Improv & Acting Studio in Oshawa, Canada, is a professor at Durham and Fleming Colleges, and is an award winning performer. / / / (647) 899-3342  Durham Improv Group and Business pages can be found on Facebook and follow @durhamimprov & @antimommy