The transformative pixie dust of sleep-away camp - Special Sections

The transformative pixie dust of sleep-away camp

Liz Spikol | Editorial Director | Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 9:02 am

Even now, so many years later — I don’t want to say how many — I can still smell my summer camp if I close my eyes and concentrate. The rich, loamy scent of dirt and pine needles. The woodsy aroma of the bunkhouses after the rain. The sweet morning incense of French toast and pancakes. The fruity tang of the Apple Pectin shampoo. And, of course, the funk of the skunk.

I remember those smells not only because smell is a uniquely evocative sense, but also because overnight camp exerts a magical, lifelong hold on those who experience it. Ask any adult who attended a sleepover camp what it was like, and they’ll get as dreamy-eyed and wonder-filled as if they were talking about a summer spent on Saturn. It’s an indelible perfume.

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