Summer dreams


As we put together the annual camp issue of the newspaper, it’s snowing outside. I’m not too fond of snow. Rather than building snow forts, sledding or skiing, I obsess about clearing driveways and sidewalks, and driving on icy roads.

I’ve written a number of snow-related columns during my tenure as editor – most of them the year before last, when I spent many days in my home office working on The Voice. That was the winter of parking bans, robust snowfalls and badly plowed East Side roads. Remember?

We haven’t had nearly as much snow this year, but this issue still always provides a nice break from winter.

It is nice to sit under a blanket, laptop open, a mug of tea by my side, and look through the photos of summer. You just can’t help but feel warm and happy when you see all those pictures of campers having fun in the sun. Like baseball’s annual rite of spring training, our camp issue is our first reminder that summer isn’t that far away; a nice boost in the dregs of winter.

It’s not too early to start planning for this summer. The best camps fill up fast and it’s a good idea to make camp plans before summer’s other plans get in the way.

For many families, camp is an important part of every summer. I went to a local day camp and then graduated to a month of overnight camp. Then I spent five summers at a two-month sleepaway camp in Maine. That experience helped shape the future me. I worked on the camp newspaper and, during my last summer, I was one of three editors. One thing led to another and I chose a career in journalism based on the spark that was ignited at camp.

In my family, camp was a tradition through the generations. But by the time it was my turn, the camp of my mother’s summer memories was no more.

For today’s JORI campers, that’s not a problem. JORI has been around since 1909, when the Jewish Orphanage of Rhode Island was established and those in charge decided the children needed a place to get outdoors during the summer.

The partnership between Camp JORI and the Rhode Island Jewish community has continued through the years. This year, I hear there’s a youngster starting at day camp who will mark the fifth generation of his family’s involvement with JORI. I look forward to catching up with the family during the summer.

You can read John Landry’s article, on page 17, about a partnership JORI has embarked on at its location on the edge of Wordon’s Pond.

As I mentioned in a column last year, these camp articles aren’t just for our readers with children of camp age. They offer a glimpse into today’s summer activities, whether or not you have children or grandchildren. Not only are there general, “traditional” camps, but now there are many special interest camps.

I am always amazed by the range of specialties offered by camps. If outdoor activities aren’t your thing, you don’t have to resort to old-fashioned arts and crafts: There’s cooking camp, and dance, and computers, not to mention lots and lots of school enrichment camps. And for older children, there are precollege programs, counselor-in-training programs (CIT) and more. There’s never a reason to be bored! While our articles don’t offer a definitive list, perhaps they will start everyone thinking of warm sunny days to come.

Just take a look at the photos. It may be that they inspire you to switch from hot tea to iced tea for the day!