Camp Friendship: A True Story

I didn’t always hate camping. But one summer changed everything…

Way back in the day when I was just a young and innocent little child, my parents sent me and my brother to an outdoor “adventure” camp. It was called Camp Friendship. This was our first overnight summer camp away from our parents. We were excited for sure but also nervous at the same time. 

The traumatizing events that occurred at Camp Friendship permanently cemented my hatred of camping and also my fear of bugs. 

I remember the events of my first 24 hours at Camp Friendship vividly. I remember being dropped off by my parents and receiving a brief tour by one of the counselors. I remember getting so excited after seeing the huge pool, jet skis, and archery station (I was randomly super into archery). But the minute I moved my luggage into my “cabin,” everything changed. 

Not but 2 minutes after meeting my cabin counselor, he told me about the black widow spiders within the cabin. Now I don’t know if y’all know about black widow spiders. But they are Satan’s spawn. They are what nightmares are made of. If you don’t know – google it. 

At the time, all I knew about black widow spiders was that they were huge and deadly. So yeah – I was terrified. Anyways, our counselor had found a family of Black Widow Spiders inside of our cabin the day before and instead of moving the kids out of the cabin, he simply told us to be on the “look out” for them. Apparently, black widows were prevalent in the area. 

If you don’t think this start to camp was horrifying enough, don’t worry because things escalated quickly. In the middle of my cabin counselor’s forewarning about the poisonous spiders living amongst us, a freakin RAT ran over the tops of my feet. I about near had a heart attack. I was also wearing flip flops. I felt that piece of shit run right over the tops of my bare-naked feet. I was so terrified at the time that I couldn’t even articulate words to say. I just kind of stood there frozen – like a deer in headlights. I then remember my cabin counselor responding all calmly “oh yeah, sometimes rats get in here as well.”  ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??? He then proceeded to hand me my agenda and took off. 

At this point, I wanted to go home ASAP. I had had enough of this shit. And I was in no mood to do a bunch of dumb ass camp games at the Camp Friendship orientation. So you know what I did? I skipped it. I threw my agenda away and decided to do my own thing. I put on my bathing suit and went out to find the pool. I was going to try and salvage some fun out of this trip before calling mommy and daddy to pick me up. 

The only problem was that I had absolutely no effing idea where anything was. I’ve always been a little geographically challenged – still am today. But I had no idea where the pool was. So I just started to wander. I eventually ended up at a shooting range in the middle of the woods. It was a bunch of older kids firing rifles at targets. When the counselor saw me, he asked where I was supposed to be. I lied. I told him I was supposed to be at the range. This dude had to have known I was lying because the kids in this group were like 7 years older than me. But the counselor didn’t care. He gave me a gun and let me shoot. I felt like such a badass. This is the ONLY dope thing that happened on this trip. 

Anyways, after the shooting range I followed the guys back to the cafeteria. There I found my brother and my assigned counselor. I got in a little trouble for skipping but got away with it because I told them I was lost. I then proceeded to tell him that I wanted to go home ASAP. I was crying my eyes out. I was NOT a tough ass kid. I was terrified and missed my parents. I REALLY wanted to go home. But the counselor wasn’t having it. He told me he’d call my parents in the morning and that a lot of kids want to go home at first but end up having the time of their lives. Yada yada yada – it sounded like bullshit to me and I was so pissed. After dinner it was time for showers. This is where shit gets REAL. 

The showers and bathrooms were in a separate building probably 100 yards from our cabin. I remember thinking that maybe a hot shower would make me feel better. Boy was I wrong. 

The showers were set up like a locker room. Just a bunch of small shower stalls with curtains. It was a little late so not many people were in there. I picked a stall, opened the curtain, and walked inside. I then reached back to close the curtain but felt something crawling on my hand. I quickly turned around and saw that the back of my shower curtain was crawling with hundreds of cockroaches. I am not exaggerating. There were hundreds of cockroaches crawling up and down this fuckin curtain. Some hanging and others falling to the ground near my feet. I can see this image clear as day as I type this. 

After seeing the cockroaches, I freaked the hell out. I was literally trapped. No way I was going to use my hand to open this cockroach invested curtain. So I came up with this brilliant plan to use my flip flop to pull the curtain back. It worked (thank god) and I sprinted out of their faster than Usain Bolt in the 2012 Olympics. 

I ran to the head counselors cabin, knocked on his door, and begged him to take me home. Tears were FLOWING. At this point he finally called my parents but wouldn’t let me talk to them. After his phone call he told me that my parents would come visit the next day. He then proceeded to let me use the counselor’s bathroom to shower. 

The next day my parents didn’t visit but they did send me and my brother a giant care package full of every candy and snack imaginable. This definitely softened the blow.

The rest of my experience at Camp Friendship wasn’t nearly as bad as the first 24 hours. The counselors let me use their bathroom the rest of the week. So lucky for me, I didn’t have to come across anymore cockroaches. I also never saw a black widow. And no more rats ran over my feet. Any fun I ended up having has since been blocked out of my memory due to my horrific first 24 hours. 

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I hate camping. Don’t try and convince otherwise because you will fail. 

That is all. 

Over and out. 

~Brendan

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