By: Hallie Grodin, Summer 365 Campbassador
Getting married to a non-camper? Or possibly even worse, a die-hard from an overnight camp other than yours? If so, then I think you need to strongly consider a camp-nuptial agreement.
“Quiet Dedicated to Rick. We welcome you to Romaca we’re mighty glad you’re here…” These were the closing words sung by my camp friends at our wedding rehearsal dinner ten years ago. As if I hadn’t become emotional enough during the beginning of the beautiful song they wrote (of course to the tune of camp songs), these final words truly sent me over the edge. Not only was I marrying the love of my life…my best friends in life were welcoming him into our bunk. You know what…I’m just going to say it…they were marrying him too. Our bunk is a package deal; he comes with me and my camp friends do too, there is NO WAY around it!
Rick learned about the critical role that camp plays in my life early on in our relationship. Although he also went to camp, he didn’t have the traditional overnight experience…he went to a soccer camp for a week, a tennis camp for a week, etc. However, once it became apparent that our relationship was here to last, the conversation began:
Hallie: “When we have kids they WILL go to camp. I think we should look at camps and leave our options open, but it’s likely that if we have girls they will go where I went and if we have boys they will go where my brother went.”
Rick: “What if our kids don’t want to go to sleepaway camp?”
Hallie: “Our kids will be campers. There are camps for everyone. We have to believe that they will be campers, and then they will be!”
And so the conversation went…over and over…year after year. And after we got engaged, the conversation was a little more serious and thankfully Rick realized that with our relationship comes the “camp-nuptial agreement.” Our kids WILL go to camp, maybe not where I went or my brother went, but they WILL go to camp.
The other form of the camp-nuptial agreement is taking it even one step further. When the couple finds out they are having a baby, the first response is “well it’s a girl so she’s going here” or “it’s a boy, he is definitely going there.” For those couples that are both die-hard campers, then the best solution may just be determined by where one person in the couple went. Or there may be a different solution. But no matter what, it is a discussion that needs to occur PRIOR to marriage to help avoid conflict later on. Perhaps it should be written in the ketubah?
Once you are in a serious relationship with someone who didn’t experience camp like you did, then he/she better know what they are getting in to. Thankfully Rick learned early on that it’s a special thing when the bunk gets together. With that being said, it is still something that is not always so easy for an “outsider” to be part of. Fortunately, over time, many significant others became part of the bunk. They learned to band together, just as us girls did, in order to deal with incessant camp song singing, overly-redundant “first kiss” stories, boisterous reunion planning, non-stop reminiscing etc. They learned that “Spouse Camp” was essential to their survival…it served as a means to steer clear of the bunk and let us do our own thing, and likely to make fun of us and all things camp. But we’ll take it.
For all you camp obsessed out there, I urge you to define your own camp-nuptial agreement…you’ll be happy you did. And your significant others should form their own Spouse Camp so that they can spend time together and bond and relate over not relating to the/your camp experience!