Monday, January 23, 2012

Missionary Kid Monday: English Camp

{For more on this series, click here}
First off, let's just start by saying that Junior High was an awkward time for everyone. I haven't met anyone who has reported having a great time at that age. I don't care if you were the popular one, or the biggest nerd around (ahem... like me). Case in point:

And living in France made it no less awkward.

We had moved to a new region my seventh grade year. New teachers, new school, and just a whole different ball game. I found that everyone my age "grew up" while I was in California during the sixth grade. My classmates were cussing like sailors; they were obsessed with kissing (etc.); and most were smoking on a regular basis.

As an introverted Christian bookworm, I felt out of place on so many different levels! I was like a fish trying to live in a tree.

My saving grace was English Camp.

You know how fat kids go to Fat Camp? And nerdy kids go to Science Camp? Well missionary kids living in France went to English Camp.

Every summer, I spent two weeks up in the Alps brushing up on my spoken and written English. It was a way for our parents to ensure that we weren't losing our mother language. The one absolute rule at the camp was No French Allowed. (No Frenglish Either). We all tried really hard to respect that - but I would be lying if I said a French word didn't occasionally slip out...

In any case, I lived for English Camp. It was where I discovered that there were other misfit missionary kids just like me who also felt like fish living in trees. We formed fast and intense friendships; bonds that ran deep. We laughed; we cried. We felt happier than we had ever been. We BELONGED.

And we agonized when our two weeks came to an end. We exchanged snail mail addresses (man I feel old!) and promised to stay in touch. And we were pretty good about it!

What about you? Did you ever go to camp as a child?


  1. I went to a ballet camp twice. That was fun outside of the classes. Some of the instructors were super tough and I have never been the "ballerina" so that was hard for me. I had a lot of fun with friends though.

    English camp sounds like a good idea for missionary kids to me, but I wouldn't know.

    I'm thankful for your insights as an MK so that if my husband and I are ever missionaries, we can help our child(ren) adjust better! :)

  2. That is too cute! Thankfully our family was missionaries in England and I didn't have to worry about other languages!

  3. You know, it's funny - I always wished that I could go to camp. It didn't matter what kind of where - I just wanted to go because all my friends would. I guess my parents felt that since I had a younger bro and sis, plus a boatload of cousins that lived locally, we could all just entertain each other and be our own "camp."

    And yes - I'll attest to the awkwardness that is junior high. :)

  4. Wow, I had no idea about English camp, sounds like a good idea though and def something to look forward to! I went to Girl Scout camp as kid.

  5. I love hearing more about your story :) I went to a camp for years growing up, and later on was able to be a counselor as well! It is called Sugar Pine Christian Camps, and it was my second home. Thanks for sharing :)

  6. Sounds like a great experience for you. I've never been to summer camp. It seems more like a city kid thing.