May 2, 2013

Girl Power Arowhon Style

Before being a camp director, I was a journalist for 20 years. During that time, as well as being restaurant critic for The Globe and Mail, I wrote columns reflecting on life… I wrote the Hers column for the New York Times and years ago wrote a regular personal column for The Globe and Mail. . Chewing up experience and reflecting on it is a habit for me, somewhere just below camp in my DNA chain.

Now I write mostly for you, the people of  Camp Arowhon, because camp is the home of my heart.  Once a columnist, always a columnist. Life gets digested in 500-word bites. Thus begins my (I hope) weekly column on this new blog.

I was looking in the mirror and thought: “Geez my hair looks great.” These days that happens almost every time I pass a mirror. Which is funny. That I spent almost 60 years (if you count early childhood) hating my hair, and now, at 63 love it, is funny to me. The difference: I stopped straightening it and let it go (and grow) natural. It seems Mother Nature was smart, because everyone else says they love my curls too.

And this is what I so look forward to telling the girls at camp. On Day Two of each session, I meet with all the girls at camp. First I do the funny stuff, so they can get some nervous laughter out. I tell them about the historical “House at Poo Corner,” which was the Senior Girls Section Head cabin back in the day. So called because when the girls flushed their tampons down the toilets, the pipes used to back up…. Badly.

We have new plumbing systems and that no longer happens, but it’s a way to get their attention, have a few laughs, and underline the need  to use “girl bags” and not to flush tampons etc. Especially the etc.

Then we talk about the really important stuff: First about eating, and that we expect every girl to eat three nutritional meals a day, and that we’re a non-dieting camp. This, I tell them, is because not one of us needs to change how we look. We also don’t wear makeup or really skimpy clothes or primp at camp – because we’re not here to try to look better, or different from how nature made us. We’re here to have fun, and how we look is just right – the way we are. This is girl power, Arowhon style.

New Column by Joanne Kates

Leave a Reply