The summer camp season is in full swing, making a perfect backdrop for our cover story today.
Kids' sojourns at sleep-away camps in the country have long had a
special place in the culture of Long Island and New York City. Memories
of those idylls - the campfires, color wars, bunk life, canteens, and
even the dining halls - often last for a lifetime.
summer camp experience was limited, but my wife's more than makes up
for it. She counts her years at an art and music camp in Pennsylvania
among the most important experiences of her life; so much in her career
as an artist and teacher has been shaped by camp and her fellow
campers. She's enjoyed many formal and informal reunions with her camp
friends in the years since.
These days such summer camp reunions have become a staple for those in
the Act Two generation, eager to relive early days of social, athletic
and artistic connections. The reunions inspire a spirit that most
closely resembles, well, summer camp.
Cara Trager, who
regularly contributes to our section with her Habitats column and other
articles, presents this story well. The inspiration for it came as she
watched her sister spend countless but joyful hours planning a reunion
last year for Camp Chic-A-Lac, an upstate New York sleep-away camp.
Trager went to the camp for only a year (compared to her sister's
seven), so she didn't go to the first reunion. This year, when there
was another get-together, Trager went to see what the fuss was about.
"There was no pretense," Trager said of the scene. She was surprised by
"the incredible level of connectedness that people had with each
other," and even more by "how they are keeping the momentum going"
after the reunion. She says long-lost friends are now working hard to
stay in touch despite all the distractions of busy adult lives.
Along the way in her reporting, Trager talked to dozens of former
campers and even one who's written a book about the lasting lure of
camp - former Disney head Michael Eisner, who spent summers at Camp
Keewaydin in Vermont.
There may be lots of time ahead for camp
reunions, but it's last call for our first-ever photo contest. We've
had a great response so far. If you still want to enter, you need to
send your photo by e-mail or via regular mail postmarked by Monday.
We're planning to publish the winners in August.
LET US HEAR
FROM YOU. We welcome comments, suggestions and letters for possible
publication. E-mail retire@newsday,com or write Act Two Editor,
Business Desk, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY 11747-4250.
Include name, address, day and night telephone numbers.