The following Camp Kamaji blog was written by Kamaji’s Assistant Director, Kat Martin:
A Camp Kamaji parent recently told us that people describe Kamaji as being “rustic”. Initially, upon hearing this, I was slightly insulted!! “Rustic” . . . I think outhouses, cabins falling apart, old equipment, etc. This image was FAR from the reality of the camp that I know and love.
So I did a little research. I found two definitions of “rustic. The first read “Lacking refinement or elegance”. Mmm, again . . . I found myself insulted. I mean, we have brand new washhouses that don’t just seem “elegant” but luxurious!! Our cabins are gorgeous; whenever people see them for the first time they cannot believe how architecturally beautiful our cabins are. And our equipment? With a unique climbing wall that is only five years old and fancy GPS systems in geocaching, I hardly find those antiquated or “lacking refinement”.
But then I thought a bit more about this definition and thought perhaps we CAN be considered a bit “rustic”. What elegant ladies would find themselves standing on dining room benches after lunch singing Backstreet Boys, “I Want It That Way”? Refined? I think not!! And it’s hardly well-mannered to throw mud at one another if you find yourself standing in a puddle after a rain. And really . . . have you ever seen a Kamaji girl eat a Rainbow Burger? Whew, it’s not pretty, and again, hardly elegant or refined!! Our “Kamaji whites” for O’Naug are hardly ever white; the only silverware we use when eating gooey rolls are knives; we sing songs about Mike’s head looking like a ping-pong ball and don’t get me started on “A Little Bird” or “Mmm, Plucky Plucky”!!! So what does this say about Kamaji and Kamaji girls? I think it just says that we know how to have a good time!!
Who wants to go to camp and worry about keeping clothes clean? Gooey rolls are meant to be sticky, messy and well, GOOEY! And singing at Kamaji? We’re certainly not known for our vocal talent (at times it is downright painful to the ear) . . . but it’s fun! Listening to 200+ people sing songs together is quite entertaining! And Mike’s head? It DOES somewhat (ok, totally) resemble a ping-pong ball . . . and Kamaji girls only speak the truth. What’s camp without giving Mike a hard time? He does, after all, wear rather “funky shoes” – it would be a mistake to not sing about them! In fact, we have songs for just about everything – we sing about coordination; if you’re late, we sing about the fact that you were likely primping; if it’s time to get the mail, we sing about that too! Why talk when you can sing? Though, I doubt any refined, elegant, well-mannered lady would agree.
The other definition I found interesting for “rustic” was, “Charmingly simple or unsophisticated”. Yes . . . and Yes!!! Not a bad thing at all. I would definitely say that Kamaji is “charmingly simple and unsophisticated”. We could have easily installed electricity into the cabins when we renovated them, but why? Life is so much simpler, and much more fun when you and your porch group can listen to cheezy music from a battery operated boombox, when you and your cabinmates can sing out loud and dance to songs from “High School Musical” as a group, instead of each girl holed up on her bed with her IPod and earphones. Instead of wasting time blow-drying or straightening our hair, we spend more time making up lyrics for a new cabin song or for our Trip Song to sing during that week’s Council Fire. At night when we’re all back in our cabins we sit around in a circle with our flashlights and share stories rather than sit around with the lights on and play on our individual game players. Very simple (in fact, some would say “charmingly simple.”)
Definitely “unsophisticated”. We’ve already established that our behavior cannot accurately be described as “sophisticated” – although we have been known to throw an amazing “Country Club Night” where we get manis and pedis, play a little mini-golf and get massages when we’re done. I think we can pull it together on those nights and pretend to be rather sophisticated while socializing with our friends Muffy and Buffy.
But normally I would say we ARE unsophisticated. We have fun doing things like decorating bananas and carrying them around all day as our buddies; dressing up like Shrek characters and running around camp; and twirling around a stick 10 times and trying to run in a straight line . . . I hate to break it to you, but definitely NOT sophisticated.
So this is what I have determined . . . next time someone describes Kamaji as “rustic”, I am going to take it as a compliment. I know they canNOT be referring to our brand new washhouses, our newly renovated cabins or our exciting and always growing activity program.
Instead I will know that they must be referring to the fact that we have fun the good, old- fashioned way, very unrefined and not elegantly!! I’ll also smile knowing that they consider Kamaji to be “charmingly simple and unsophisticated”. We know how to get dirty, sing loudly, have a sense of humor and use our creativity to have a good time – and there is nothing insulting about being girls who know how to have fun the “rustic” way.