A Mom Goes to Sleepaway Camp for the Summer | Summer 365

6.30.14 by

Yes, you heard that right, our friend Jenny is going where no mom has gone before… she is following her kids to camp!  Jenny Isenman AKA “Jenny From the Blog,” now “Jenny from the Bunk,” is a pop-culture obsessed, card carrying Gen Xer, and the humorist behind the award winning site, The Suburban Jungle.  She is bravely venturing into the unknown land of messy bunks, loud dining halls, and kid-filled canteens.  We invite you to join us in following her journey to find out what really goes on behind-the-scenes, and share in the joy and gift of sleepaway camp.

summer 365 camp sleepaway camp kids decisions advice jenny from the blog jenny from the bunk experts kids children teens tours trips summer experience Gen-XJenny as a camper THEN…and NOW

What was your camp experience (how many years did you go, name of camp / where it was located, for how long)?

I was at camp for 5 years. 1 year at Louise in the Catoctin Mountains and 4 years at Timber Ridge camps (Green Briar and Teen Town) in West Virginia.

So you are going back to camp this summer…we are just a little jealous! How did this genius idea come about?

I thought of it as is the way with all genius ideas. I always wanted to go with my kids because I’m a crazy mess when they’re gone. So I started a blog knowing one day it would get so big and I would be so famous that I could use it as leverage for people to allow me on private property. I typed every word with this goal in mind and one day it worked. I never became famous or important, but I convinced someone I was and that person owned a camp.

What are you expecting at camp? What are you most looking forward to? Nervous about?

I am actually freaking out. I’m nervous my kids will totally ignore me. I’m nervous I won’t be the reigning jacks champion. I’m nervous I’ll look stupid in my ACA Joe Rugby and my EG socks. I’m worried that I won’t make friends with the moms in my cabin or I’ll get the worst chores on the job wheel.

Are your kids excited to have you at camp?

Actually, they are. At first my daughter 9 (going for the 1st time) said we should go to different camps because she won’t get the full camp experience with me around, but when I informed her she will get no camp experience without me around, she seemed really psyched.

summer 365 camp sleepaway camp kids decisions advice jenny from the blog jenny from the bunk experts kids children teens tours trips summer experience Gen-X

What is one of your favorite camp memories?

I loved the talent nights – making up skits and doing them on stage… no, my first kiss at a bonfire… no color war. I don’t remember much.

What do you think is the main difference you are expecting from camp today versus when you went?

I think the kids will be taller.

summer 365 camp sleepaway camp kids decisions advice jenny from the blog jenny from the bunk experts kids children teens tours trips summer experience Gen-X

What are the top three essentials you packed your child for camp?  What has changed since you packed for yourself?

Tons of shoes, a pair for rain, for sports, for fields, for showers, for the lake, for socials, for cold weather, and back ups for each pair. When I was young it was one pair of Reebok Hightops or Keds or Avias fits all…

What are the top three essential you packed for yourself?

Smashbox BB cream, bug spray, and sweats (lots of sweats).

What are three words to describe your camp experience? Three words to describe your experience sending your kids to camp?

Me: Freeing, Incredible, Eye-Opening

Sending my son: Neurosis inducing, Stifling, Scary

Why do you think it is important for kids to go to camp / for parents to give children the gift of summer camp)?

Camp is this amazing, unique place where being a kid and having fun is the actual goal… it’s not a superfluous intention, or a residual effect, it’s what camp is actually about. There are few places that any of us ever get to experience where the world around us is fashioned for non-stop fun.  Along the way, kids are unknowingly being taught about independence, camaraderie, self reliance, routines, and the joy of trying new things. That’s why I think the friends kids make at camp are so special, they’ve bonded over an exciting and unique experience, like the way people bond over roller coasters (there’s an effect from sharing a thrill with someone) and camp is weeks of thrills.

How has camp affected your adult life/what you do now?

I don’t make out with people behind milk trucks anymore and I never attempt to get a greased watermelon off the bottom of a pool.

What advice do you have for parents sending their kids to camp? 

Who am I to give advice? I’m going with mine! I guess my best advice would be to start a blog and become super famous and … (Truthfully, that will come after camp, when I see first hand what’s what, what’s worth the worry, what really goes on, and how the kids change over the course of the summer.) I would say follow along and glean from it what you can, the series is as much for you guys as it is for me.

jenny isenman

What do you prefer — pool or lake?  Your kids? 

Are either of them heated? My son the lake, my daughter the pool.

What will be your number one requested item on visiting day? 

I will want a latte in a vessel that would make Bloomberg weep.

Favorite canteen candy? Yours and your kids? 

Mine, Chunky – which I know they won’t have… As a kid we drank tons of Fanta at canteen, I think they made all their money at camps.  My daughter’s, a Kit Kat bar, and my son would want gum, but like 10 pieces to chew at once.

What happens at camp stays at camp… but got anything you want to share with us? 

I’m too wordy to tell a story in a paragraph so I’ll just say my tent (oh, we slept in tents at Teen Town) got skunked and leave it at that.

To follow along make sure you’re a fan on Facebook and Twitter and if you’re on Pinterest or Instagram (she’ll surely have some doozies to post). And please take a sec to share this with any friends who’ve been to camp, have (had or will one day) have kids in camp, or people who like the humor in the unknown.

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