Letter from the Editors: April 2019
If I could go back in time to any part of my life, it would be summer camp. I went to one they should make a movie about. It was Camp Willoway in Upstate New York and it was an arts and crafty place, billed as being “noncompetitive.”
I usually sum it up this way: our camp trip in 1969 was to the Woodstock festival. I was 13, my sister was 11 and we were in the heart of the biggest hippie gathering ever. We were so unprepared for what it would become.
I was wearing black chinos and a blue button down shirt and brought books to study for school. We bought advance tickets and thought we’d have seats, like we would have at Shoreline Amphitheater. (I kept those ticket stubs with me all the time, until they were stolen from my car at 26th Street Beach. Bummer.
It wasn’t the paradise you might imagine, but it certainly blew a lot of minds. We were supposed to stay for three days, but after the parents saw news reports, the camp made us leave early in the morning of the second day. Now, you probably haven’t heard much about Friday night, which was folk night and for a 13-year-old who only knew of Jimi Hendrix and the Who, it was about as boring as school.
We sat through Richie Havens, who opened the show, but with storms passing through and an unsophisticated sound system, a lot of what he played was blowing in the wind and impossible to hear. Then there was a guru lecturing, Ravi Shankar, Tim Harden, Melanie, Sweetwater (a band that didn’t profit from the appearance because I bet you still have never heard of them).
I would have greatly enjoyed the show today, but at that time, it was a big yawn just waiting for the big acts we never got to see. We left crying in a school bus and passed out three days of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the hippies hiking into the show.
That was just one weird memory of a totally freeform artsy camp, probably like nothing today. You still can get plenty of arts or sports or camping, but I doubt anyone in the camps in this issue is heading to Woodstock 50 (I wish I was).
That said, we’ve got some great features in the summer activities issue, with information on camps, schools, trips and hobbies for those months the kids are out of school.
You’ll want to read Jan Pierce’s article on finding the right summer camp. It’s got some great advice. If you’ve got high school kids, you must read Suki Wessling’s story about how teens are learning skills for technical careers and what will happen to CTE programs in the future. There are huge changes afoot in the county.
What’s the best way to recycle your Christmas tree? Keep it up all year. So says Ramona Pursley in her story inside.
Teacher Lisa Catteral lets you in on her thoughts and secrets in her Behind the Teacher’s Desk column. You will love it.
There’s plenty more inside.