By John Pierce

As summer approaches, my thoughts always turn to camp.

Going to various camps was as big part of my youth: Boy Scout camp, church camp, 4-H camp and Safety Patrol camp — even though I never served as a safety patrol. If there was a sponsor to cover the cost, I was the willing kid.

In addition to simply escaping the summertime boredom of home, camp was the chance to meet new people and enjoy all kinds of fun recreational activities. Camps were where I learned to swim, shoot a bow, boil an egg in a paper cup and splash on Brut cologne before going to a dance.

I learned eternal truths and various unexpected educational insights. For example, at 4-H Forestry Camp in Dahlonega, Ga., we were told about a practice called “prescribed burning.”

My first thought was: Why burn a perfectly good forest?

But I learned that stands of pine forests southward of my Northwest Georgia hillside contained significant combustible undergrowth. Carefully burning out that underbrush helped control wildfires and provide better accessibility along with other benefits.

Why I remember that lesson — along with many pranks and personalities from my camping experiences — I’m not sure.

While on a lesser scale, I am glad my daughters have the chance to go to camps — especially the wonderful ones provided by Passport Camps.

Going to camp is a good way to grow up. And an important part of the maturation process is learning to remove the underbrush of life so the good stuff can flourish.

Do you have your toothbrush, insect repellant and sunscreen? And, guys, your Brut cologne? — but stay away from my daughters.


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