The official end of summer has passed and kids all over the nation are back at school and I can easily imagine the hallways are still bursting over with stories of summer camp and all of its amazing experiences. Let me tell you about College Days! The fireworks over the lake on the last night! I so miss my camp friends…
Someone else campers might be missing as they return to school is their Camp Mom. Usually assigned to the youngest campers, the Camp Mom serves as the wonder woman of camp life. Ever wonder who keeps nails clipped, or makes sure kids eat a balanced meal? Camp Mom.
“I work really closely with them,” says Amy Blum, who served as Camp Mom for the youngest girls (7-11 year olds) at Camp Starlight this summer. Blum lived at camp the entire summer and saw her role as being an “extra set of eyes and ears to make sure the younger kids were having a great time.” Counselors are in their early twenties, Blum points out, and they haven’t had or raised children, so having a mom on hand was a source of comfort for everyone.
“The counselors would come to me for advice,” Blum says, and she would often think of things that young college students just wouldn’t. “We would always be there at lunch time, taking a look at everyone’s plate as they walked by. When kids came by just filled up with French fries, I’d send them back to get something else. That’s not something the counselors may notice,” she says, admitting that sometimes it’s the counselors themselves who may need a nudge toward the healthier lunch options.
Camp Moms are also just what their name implies, a mom away from home. If a camper is missing home, Amy is ready with a hug and a listening ear. When campers in the nurses office or the health center need a cold glass of ice water, Blum is there to deliver it and check in on them. Blum was always there to help apply sunscreen and Chapstick in the morning, help the girls get their bunks ready for inspection and check in after phone calls home or visiting day.
“I was very impressed with how independent the girls were,” Blum says. “I expected more adjustment issues but the girls were very well prepared for camp. The knew what was expected of them and they did it very well.”
There’s always the need for a helping hand, though. Blum was there to lead a circle game while girls waited their turn on the archery field- don’t like the idea of waiting maybe sing with them as they go to activities or something, for example, encourage the girls as they tackle the climbing wall, and make emergency bathroom runs. She would also hand out the “secret snacks” and be their constant cheerleader.
Blum herself has been involved with summer camp continuously since she was a camper herself in the late 70s. “I’ve missed only three summers since then, and I met my husband at summer camp.” The Blum family tradition is continuing; Amy’s daughter was a counselor in the youngest girls’ bunk at Starlight this summer. She hopes to continue the tradition next summer and would love to return to be Camp Mom again. “I loved what I did and we all enjoyed it and had a good time. It was a wonderful experience.”