Summer Camp Singalongs

When I was 6, I joined the Brownies, and I was there for three years. At 8, I had the choice between crossing the rainbow bridge and become a Junior Girl Scout, or joining 4-H.  4-H won, hands down. It had two things the scouts didn’t: boys and bunnies.

Even in the Brownies, we went to camp, but usually all of the moms came along too. Camp Jesse Mae holds few clear memories for me, beyond the songs. “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.” That, sung in a round, is a total classic.  The other one I recall from Girl Scouts is the Littlest Worm, which made an appearance on the Appalachian Trail.

4-H camp, however, Camp Whitewood. Now, there are a bushels of summer camp memories. A handful of my friends and kids from all over the county attended Camp Whitewood every summer. I attended that week of sleep-away camp 5 times: from the third grade through seventh.  (In eighth grade I went to a different 4-H summer camp…)

Today, we’re taking Ethan to the Swamp for his week-long trip.  This will be his third year there, and his feelings about camp are about the same as mine were as a kid. He absolutely loves it.  However, I have to admit, his dad and he both look askance at me for the camp songs.

I can still sing, oh, at least a dozen of them.

The peppiest kids I ever saw, they never come a pokin’

If I were to tell you the pep they have, you’d think I was a jokin’

It’s not the pep in the pepper pot, or the pop in the popcorn popper.

It’s not the pep in the mustard jar or the pep in the vinegar stopper

It’s good old-fashioned P-E-P, pep you cannot buy


Peppiest kids around…. 


The Swamp reminds of me of Whitewood – the big pavilion, the boys cabins and girls cabins, the lake for canoes and swimming, hiking, all of it.  Teen counselors / role models.  From everything Ethan has told me, it’s a similar experience for him.

two little girls camping and eating grapes

AK and her friend Jess camping and looking devious about those grapes.


I reminisce about summer camp when I go hiking with Jessica, because she was at Camp Jesse Mae and at Camp Whitewood with me.  I reminisce about it when I see people doing Camp NaNoWriMo word sprints.  I reminisce about it when I want to drive Brett and Ethan batshit crazy by singing camp songs at the top of my lungs for at least an hour.

There was the Duke of York

He had ten thousand men

He marched them up the hill and then

he marched them down again.

When you’re up you’re up,

And when you’re down you’re down.

But when you’re only halfway up you’re neither up nor down.  


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