Boatin’ (and Camp Culture)

Boatin’! For whatever reason, this is the name of our canoeing activity at camp. One person will say it, and those nearby will repeat it, loudly, and with a bad British accent. It’s just what we do. It’s part of our culture.

Earlier this year, I heard someone compare cultures to fishtanks, and then explain it in context of the scenes in Finding Nemo, when Nemo is first dropped into the fishtank in the dentist’s office. After his initial shock, he’s cleaned and introduced to everyone. That first night, he’s initiated, given a new name, Sharkbait, and from that point on, he’s one of the tribe.

This is very much like camp, especially for a new camper. They may feel like they’ve been dropped into a foreign land, but that only lasts for a short time. Soon they are introduced to everyone, they begin to learn the culture and are then part of the tribe.

Some pieces of camp culture are unique to just one year – an inside joke, shared among the whole camp. Other pieces last from year to year to year. Boatin’ is one of those.

– Twister (written from the dock)

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