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Did you go to summer camp this year? What happened?
--From Subha, 13

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Summer Camp: Casey's Story

Casey (center) meets new friends at camp!

Topics on Summer Camp:
Take Chances,
    Make Memories
Why Go To Camp?
Choosing A Camp
Get Ready, Get Packed
Making Friends
Homesickness
I'm Worried About...
Casey's Story
From the Mentors
Casey is 8 years old and lives in Santa Monica, California. In June of 2005, she will be going to camp for the first time. Her camp is an all-girls camp in Maine -- on the other side of the country! -- and Casey will be staying for six full weeks.

"When I heard about the camp," says Casey, "I was really impressed with everything about it. And my mom said it's a good starter's camp to go to." In fact, Casey's mom went to the same camp when she was young, and has told Casey stories about how much fun she had. "This is so funny," says Casey. "When she was little there, she did 100 somersaults from the cafeteria to her gym class."

Casey admits to being a little nervous about heading to camp, but she's mostly excited. "I think it'll be really fun," she says. "You get to do anything you want...it's like being free." Casey is especially looking forward to the camp's archery program, but that's just one of many camp activities that excite her. "They have swimming, basketball, outdoor sports, art, theater practice, horseback riding and field trips," she says. "You get to sign up for anything you would like to do."

While waiting for her time to leave for camp, Casey has been preparing herself and learning more about what to expect. "There's a DVD of how camp works out," she explains. "It's called ‘The Yearbook.' They sent a copy to me. They showed everything that was there." She's also visited the camp's Web site, which includes pictures of all the first year campers, including Casey.

Since her camp is a uniform camp, meaning that all the girls must dress alike, Casey has also received her camp clothes. "I got this gymnastics suit, and I got this riding suit-mostly all the things that camps do," she says. "I got a bag I can put everything in."

Six weeks is a long time to be away from home, especially for a first-timer. The camp is also two thousand miles away from Santa Monica, and Casey admits that she's a little concerned about being homesick. She knows that bringing stuff from home can help. "Like a pillow," she says, "Or your favorite toy. Something like that." Writing home can also help. "I think I'll be writing letters a lot."

Another great thing is that Casey's grandparents live close to the camp, and she will see them on Visitor's Day. Casey is even more enthusiastic about another visitor. "The little sisters are allowed to sleep over at camp," she says excitedly. Casey's little sister Veronica will fly out to the camp to spend the night, and there's no doubt this will be thrilling for both of them.

And speaking of sisters, Casey will have a "big sister" to help her and look out for her while she's at camp. Alexandra is 15, and lives in California, too. This summer will be her last at the camp. Casey and Alexandra recently met at an ice cream shop, and the older girl offered advice and stories about life at the camp. "We talked a lot, mostly we just talked about the camp," says Casey. "She's soooo nice. We have a lot of things in common."

Talking to Alexandra, Casey was amazed to hear that her stories about camp were very similar to the ones her mom had told. "The same things happened," she says, "like, memories." Soon Casey will be at the camp herself, and it won't be long before she has great stories and memories of her own to tell.

IML will talk to Casey when she gets back from camp in August. Check back with us then to learn how things went!

Next: Advice and stories From the Mentors

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