The Mystical Land of Camp

By Reeve Currie, CSP Library Student Worker

The library will be hosting a book reading on April 11th, at 12 pm; Eric Dregni will be reading from his new book You’re Sending Me Where? Dispatches from Summer Camp.

Dregni was inspired to write this book from his experiences at summer camps. He started taking notes “about all the unbelievable, but somehow typical, stories of camp life.” Dregni has been running an Italian camp for the past ten years and wanted to tell the stories that he’d been experiencing: “canoeing down a river that wasn’t there, trying to evacuate an injured camper from the BWCA, taking “swamp stomps” to cover ourselves in mud.”

When all of the stories are collected together, the crazy moments that only happen at camp are as laughable as they are unbelievable. Part of the fun of writing this book was noticing that all of the stories only amplified Dregni’s experience. “I suppose they don’t seem quite possible,” he stated.

“The chapter of being a counselor at the American camp in Font Romeu, France in the Pyrenees,” was the most amusing chapter to write. “All the little French kids refused to work because of their God-given right to have summers off,” Dregni explained. “Imagine trying to teach them English in the courtyard of a 14th-century monastery (hermitage) with the sun beaming down through the mountain air, but all the spoiled enfants circling the table chanting, “On fait la grève!” (We’re on strike!).”

While Dregni acknowledges that anyone who has been to camp (or been a counselor) will be able to relate to the stories he tells, “those who haven’t can imagine what fun they could have had.

Thinking back to his favorite camp memory, Dregni points out that his favorite memories aren’t centered around good situations, “But I watched the campers actually have fun in these wild, adverse conditions.” Two specific memories stood out: “The big storm that hit last summer (knocking down more than a hundred trees) or perhaps “bat camp” when almost all the campers had to get a series of rabies shots.”

Camp is a world unlike any other, and Dregni skillfully writes about it with candor and humor. Afterall, states Dregni, “It’s all a magical game.”

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