Goodies, Kamp Krushes & Kamp Flings

It is that time of year, so of course, I have to write about the boundless warm fuzzies brought about by Goodies, Kamp Krushes and Kamp Flings!  Who can relate???

Goodies . . . there is just something special about a Kamp goodie!  It was better than snail mail because our whole world was at Kamp for that month and someone at that Kamp was thinking about us during rest period (or honor condo, heaven forbid!)  That great anticipation during lunch just hoping that there was a goodie for you in the mailbox. . . . I always had the counselors who did it “right” and waited until the table was clean, then she would go check the mail and not even give a clue what was in that pile until we were on our bunks.  Was it just me? Were my counselors the only ones who waited until we were on our bunks to hand out the mail? And getting that goodie was so much fun–reading it and giggling with your Kamp bestie and then writing back. . . typically the entire cabin would be involved in the goodie craze–everyone knew everybody else’s business and getting a goodie from your Kamp krush was the highlight for the cabin so often!

Which brings me to Kamp krushes. . . . oh my!  The Kamp Krush that may or may not be mutual, but was so much fun nevertheless!  Would you get a goodie? Would you get to sit by him at K-Life? Would your cabin be paired with his at the parties?  Would he ask you to dance? Being at Kamp for 26 days gave so many more opportunities for that Kamp krush to turn into a Kamp fling!

The KKmp fling. . . . was there anything better in high school than a Kamp fling?  I really don’t even know how to describe it, but if you had a Kamp fling, you understand right now.  Would it survive the school year? How long would it last? Some of you married your Kamp flings and some of us just had them for Kamp plus a few months.  Either way, not much compared to the giddiness of the Kanakuk Fling!

Story time.  I got to be at Kamp all summer (luckiest girl on the planet).  I was there first, second and third term. I had triple the chances of getting goodies, of having a Kamp krush and having my Kamp krush turn into a Kamp fling.  I loved being at Kamp all summer in high school! I loved being around such great people (guys and girls). Most of my best friends to this day are Kamp friends I made during terms I was not a Kamper. . . . 

My first Kamp Krush was probably when I was 1 because Jason Brawner and I had the same babysitters, and there is a picture of us on the front porch of the office: I was in my play pen and he was in his Johnny Jump Up (bouncy swing) and he had swung his way over to me and was hanging on the side of my playpen.  I guess I could argue that he had the Kamp krush on me; we’ll never know. (I am so thankful that he is one of my dearest friends to this day.)

I had a few random Kamp krushes along the way, many I still probably don’t want to admit were actually krushes (but so many of y’all probably witnessed as you watched me grow up and you could probably name them even though I won’t).  One summer I had a krush on someone and I actually took his picture (in a Ziploc bag) on the K-1 canoe trip with me! I literally had his picture in the canoe! That was strictly a Kamp krush gone nowhere because I never even got a goodie from him!  But it was so much fun.

When I was 14 I had my first Kamp krush that may or may not have been a Kamp fling.  The goodies were mutual, we sat by each other at K-Life, but I don’t think he was krushing on me as much as I was krushing on him.  I think he was just a really nice guy. Embarrassing note about this Kamp krush: I was waiting for him in the church between his lunch and my lunch one day and we talked for a second and when he walked off to his cabin, I turned around to watch and I fell through the bleachers and busted my knee cap–and he had no idea!  I guess on one hand, I’m glad that he had no idea that I fell through the bleachers, but how lame that he had no idea that I fell. He was a write-the-goodies-on-yellow-legal-paper type of Kamp krush and it was so much fun! (Again, I am so thankful that to this day, he and I are good friends and we can laugh about that silly 14 year old girl who had the biggest krush on him.)

Yes, I had more than a few Kamp krushes, but I really only had one Kamp fling and it was probably my high school relationship highlight. If you knew me the summer of 1990, you know exactly who I’m talking about (and, yes, I got his permission to write about it).  It felt like he was the first boy to ever krush on me back and he wrote the best goodies (every single day)! I wasn’t a Kamper and he was the chief and I was on cloud nine the first goodie I got from him! I had the path worn out from my house to the goodie box that term.  It was so much fun! It was sheer giddiness for three weeks straight and he wasn’t afraid to be krushing on me for the whole Kamp to know. His brother knew, his cabin knew, his counselors knew and his mom knew when she came for closing. He asked me to dance, he sat by me at star study, he walked me home at night on his way to his cabin.  I’ve got my scrapbook open to our page right now and I’m just looking at the pictures and smiling (partially embarrassed by what I dork I must have been and partially happy because it was a really fun and exciting time in my life). Of course it didn’t last beyond Kamp, but we kept writing letters back and forth and to this day, we are still really great friends.  

I think that the best thing about the Kamp krushes and the Kamp flings is that since they were innocent and fun for the month at Kamp, the friendships never had to end even if the fling did.  I’m so thankful for the boys that made me feel special at Kamp. I’m thankful for the goodies during the summers and the letters during the winters. I’m thankful for the times I got to see them in their hometowns or in mine outside of Kamp.  I’m thankful today that I am still friends with most of them and that they got the first few pieces of my heart that I gave away and were so careful with those pieces. I’m thankful for that giddy feeling and for how much fun they made Kamp. As I look back on the short list of boys in my life, I look back with the most fondness on my Kamp flings!  (Have I mentioned that I was the luckiest girl to get to grow up at Kamp?)

Jamie Jo Braner, Director of Alumni Engagement