9.7.07

Silly Rabbit! Atheist Camp is for Kids!

Now, where was this when I was growing up?

I was raised Catholic, but I would probably have felt more comfortable at Camp Quest than at the ultra-conservative Christian summer camp, "Son City," I went to the summer of 1982. By that time I was already having arguments with the priests at Mary, Seat of Wisdom who were beginning to think I was a bit of a pest. By the age of 10 I'd decided I wanted to be a priest, and could not for the LIFE of me understand why I COULDN't be...? Whaddya mean I COULDN't be?? Makes-a NO sense.

So I asked questions.

Turns out there are quite alot of Catholic priests who do not like to be asked questions. Thank goodness for the ones who do!

Anyway, I remember not quite fitting in at Son City, and, quite frankly, not wanting to. For one, my tomboy ways were NOT appreciated (my friend magically suppressed hers upon entering the camp grounds.) Apparently there were "girl appropriate" and "boy appropriate" games and activities - who knew?? - and I was told that Dungeons and Dragons, one of my budding favorite pass-times, was "satanic." Luckily, I hadn't brought my dice with me: my friend, bless her, the one who had brought me along, had casually mentioned before we left that I probably wouldn't find anyone to play D&D with, "nobody would know the rules" (herself included - her parents had warned her off of it, I found out later), so I should pack an extra swimsuit instead. Then there were the prayers throughout the day. As one who started omitting "under God" during the morning recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by the 5th grade, I had a hard time praying to a God I was already having a hard time believing in in my own religion, much less someone else's. I was already starting to see religion as a divisive force, something that separated people and made them see eachother differently, and I was beginning not to trust it. Sure it could be argued that everyone's praying to the same god in the end, but then, why all the argument? Why all the war and hatred? My own religion, Catholicism, was telling me my prayers weren't as good as a male's, so talk about divisive - the religion I was born into was dividing the sexes from birth.

But I digress.

I did have a good time at Son City, due in no small part to the fact that I was with my best friend, and they had horses!! The promise of horses and the chance to spend that extra week with my friend (every other year she'd gone alone to camp and I was despondent without her) was what got me to there in the first place. Her parents sent her there every year, and she LOVED it. She may have gone on to take a job as a camp counselor during her high school summers.

Since I had the longest legs I got to ride the tallest horse, a buckskin named Saraski, which was way cool. Definitely the highlight of my camp experience, if not my entire summer.

I don't have any pictures of Saraski, and the pics of real buckskins on Google Images don't match up to the mythical creature I have lodged in my skull, so I settled for this artist's rendition of a buckskin.

Turns out I was a budding humanist at the age of 10. Now I'm a full-blown humanist (but dang if I don't love a Gothic cathedral)! I did have a good time at Son City, but if I'd gone to a secular camp, I think I would have regretted not going every year of my childhood life.

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