Letters from camp, what they say or don’t say about your child

The New York Times has this column from a mom about the texts and letters she’s gotten this summer from camp. Read it here.

One of morseBens more
One of Ben’s more goofier moments at camp.

I am very blessed that my children are at a camp for 31/2 weeks that does not allow them to have electronics, or else, I’m sure my 11-year-old daughter would be texting up a storm this summer. She’s already let us know how miserable she is because after four years with one group of girls, she was put into a cabin with girls she either didn’t know or didn’t like. So much girl drama!

My 14-year-old son probably wouldn’t give me any more information in a text than he does in his letters.

Here are the letters I’ve gotten so far:

From Ben:

Day 1

The first day went by swiftly until I fell deep into sleep. I hope I can stay. Send me all my Dungeons & Dragons books and like at least 10 character sheets.


From Ben:

Day 4

Sorry I didn’t inform you about Day 3. I was carried away. The D&D set came, Truman developed his own version of D and D called Trumans and Dragons. Everyone got a character sheet except Max. He’s reading the books I got that he didn’t own.

Love you


This is what happens when you put chocolate pudding on your face at camp.
This is what happens when you put chocolate pudding on your face at camp.

From Ben:

Day 5

I woke up with a rash all over my face. I checked it out with the nurses and it was caused by an allergic reaction to something on my face. I think it was either the activity the previous night or  my pillow. It’s more likely the activity where pudding was smeared on my face due to it being more to the right. I hope I get well soon.



From Ben:

Day 7

The rash is still here but getting better. Honestly, it’s been a pretty average day.


From Ben:

One of the letters Ben Villalpando send home this summer.
One of the letters Ben Villalpando send home this summer.

Day 10

It’s Maccabia [Their camp Olympics]. I’m on green, Go Mad Hatter! I’m too tired for anything other than sarcasm. I don’t care what happens. See you soon.


From Ava:

All my towels smell like Jill [the cat] pee!

From Ava:

Send me $20. I need to buy putty.

One of Ava Villalpandos an
One of Ava Villalpando’s letters. 

From Ava:

I need money (like 20$) for trip night and also for Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty. Also Jill peed on half my stuff. GRRRRR!!!! 😐

From Ava:

Don’t worry about the charger. My iPod got taken away even though the staff at check-in said I could have it. Also I’d like some duct tape and a cover up. (BTW your package didn’t come.)

From Ava:

Kalli told all the boys that I’m fat and gross and run around naked in the cabin. This place year is the worst. 😦

I try not to be alarmist and to not intervene with what’s going on at camp. But that last letter I forwarded a copy to camp. I think they should know why my child isn’t haven’t so much fun this year.

I do try to read between the lines of their letters but also their photos. I spend 30 minutes a day combing through any sign of them in the photo galleries posted on the camp’s website. I not only look at the closeups where they always look happy, but I look at the crowd shots. Do they look happy? Are they participating? Can I even find them? If not why? Nurse’s office? Ran off? What? Someone tell me, please! And then I try to remind myself that they probably just went to the bathroom or my short kids are hidden among the tall ones. Calm down and breathe and know that when they hop in the car on Aug. 4, they’ll have lots of tales to tell.

Author: Nicole Villalpando

Nicole Villalpando writes about families in the Raising Austin blog and the Raising Austin column on Saturdays. She also offers a weekly and monthly family calendar at austin360.com/raisingaustin. She tweets at @raisingaustin.

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