Lake Huron, PA (July 19, 2022) – Camp Huron Lake Director Marty Feldstein knows all too well how excited first time sleepaway camp parents get for their virgin Visiting Day experience. They’ve seen the videos, read the stories, and heard hundreds of tales of mothers in flip-flops or high heels setting world sprinting records in the quarter mile from the camp’s front gate to their child’s bunk. Unfortunately for these parents, the in person experience will have to wait another year as a virtual Visiting Day will take place instead. In order to give the Huron Lake parents a true feeling for what it has felt like in past years, Marty’s sent all parents a list of things they can do to experience a truly authentic Visiting Day weekend.
The Daily Camp News was fortunate enough to be forwarded a copy of the email he sent to parents.
For the Night before Visiting Day
-Find the crappiest, most rundown hotel/motel in your area and book it for the night before your call. Make sure you pay four to six times more than what they normally charge because you’re going to want to be able to brag and/or complain about how much you paid to your child’s bunkmates’ parents who have never met you until a few seconds ago.
-Before you leave for the hotel, open up the window to the smallest bathroom with a shower in your house and remove any screens so an ample number of mosquitos and gnats get in. Shut the door behind you then turn off the air conditioner. You’re going to need this for a step later.
Day of Visiting Day
-Get up at the crack of dawn and return to your house but wait at the bottom of the driveway. Invite as many neighbors as possible and let them know they’ll be racing you to your front door and pretty much anything goes. They’re going to think you’re crazy but they’re the same people who think your kids are camping in the wilderness all summer which couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ll probably be waiting around three hours before the sprint so this will give everyone enough time to really build up a good amount of angst, frustration, and aggression. It will make the sprint much more physical. Hopefully some of your neighbors will spend the time waiting telling everyone about their amazing lives, summer houses, and how badly they want their kids to get into Wisconsin for the fall of 2030.
Make sure some tree roots or other obstacles are sticking out of the ground. You’ll want to trip over these on the way to the house, and with any luck, you’ll get plenty of dirt and rocks into in a fresh wound on your knee. Not to worry, just grab a lozenge from the medicine cabinet and you’ll feel better soon.
-Once you’re in your house, go to that bathroom (for added authenticity, plant someone in the bathroom so you can fight about who was there first) and turn on the hot water in the shower. There should be plenty of steam to the point it becomes hard to breathe regularly. The heat and humidity in the confined space will have a sweltering feel of a 105 degree, 99% humidity day in central Africa. Along with the stifling heat, the bugs that you let in last night should be biting you to really make it feel like you’re on the camp property.
-In the event you need to go to the bathroom, take a drive to the closest gas station and, if someone is already using the facilities, ask them not to flush. You’re going to want the full experience of using a bathroom that’s just been used by 100 to 150 people in the last four hours. If the toilet paper is more than one-ply, don’t use it. That’s a half-ply too luxurious for camp. Hopefully, the bathroom is unventilated so you get a good sweat going in the two minutes you’re in there.
-For lunch, buy some generic brand hot dogs, hamburgers, and buns. If they come in a non-discreet white package that simply states the name of the product, you’re on the right track. Make sure to cook them a few hours before you plan on eating so they’ll be served at or below room temperature. Also put some chocolate chip cookies out in the sun so that when you pick one up, it either breaks apart before it gets to your mouth or you get chocolate all over your new Visiting Day outfit.
-Once you’re on the FaceTime call with your child, expect them to tell you very little except that they’re the only one in the camp that hasn’t signed up for next summer and if you don’t give the office admin your credit card number by the end of the call, the camp can’t guarantee your child’s spot for 2023. Don’t be surprised if you hear me in the background coaching the kids on exactly what to say.
-If you talk to a counselor on the call to see how your child is doing, don’t be alarmed if they refer to your child as “Champ”, “Big Guy”, or “Killer”. They probably still don’t know their names yet. If the counselor is from a city in the United Kingdom that is not London, don’t bother trying to figure out what’s being said. Just know your kid doesn’t understand either and they’ve been together for nearly a month.
-When you get off the call, grab your wallet and take a few ten and twenty dollar bills, crumple them up, then flush them down the toilet. It’s much easier to throw away your money this way than having to buy then send a bunk gift which is essentially a reward for surviving in a country club for children for a month.
-Lastly, and this really is the most important part of the Visiting Day experience, no matter how horrible and miserable the day, it is imperative that you post to a minimum of two social media platforms just how amazing the day was.