My Best Memories Growing Up...
Some of my best, most fond memories from my childhood was going to our town's summer camp in Burlington Mass - good ol’ Camp Simonds at Simonds Park. So many imprints left on my mind, like the counselors green tee shirts, morning meeting a huge sing-a-longs, a spoof on the copa-cabana. Yes, I was 6 or years old and everything was new, but so much fun we had in this golden summers. I remember swimming in the pool, capture the flag games in the pine trees wooded area at the camp, back then we played dodge ball on the tennis courts. So many fun days, and I even remember my favorite counselor, John. I idolized him, so much older than me (maybe 16 years old) he was fun and would run the games with us, and got know each of us. When we have our staff orientation here at MAC every summer, I always tell the new recruits that story and I always tell them that they too have the ability to positively affect a camper this summer, and it is easy to do, just be open to the kids, have fun with them, talk to them, what you do will impact their summer for the summer or negative.
I remember my first baseball coach, for whatever reason we did not hit it off, and he made us run laps around these cones as a form of negative reinforcement. I don’t remember anything else about baseball, but I surely did not stick with it too long after that. I always share that story with our tennis coaches here at the club too, as we always need to use fitness as a reward and not as punishment and the way we frame activities on the court will lead to positive or negative consequences.
The majority of my summers from 9 and up were spent at our local swim and tennis club, 3 courts, a big pool and playground and club house. Pretty simple set up, but I loved that place. I would drive my bike their every morning as my parents were both working in the summer and my days were filled with playing tennis with my friends. The summer was the time that I really improved as I had the time to devote to being on the courts, and although they did have some lessons in the afternoon, taught by a wonderful teacher, the late Bev Hansen, I already had 4 or 5 hours of Tennis under my belt by the time that organized lessons rolled around. My big brother Steven was one of the best tennis players at the club at that time and there was a time that he taught lessons there too. I remember his drill, single line on the singles sideline, forehand on the run, and try to hit it in the trash can for a coke! Classic stuff.
At MAC, I have been running this summer camp since 2001 (believe it or not) and I am always thinking back to those long sun filled days that we had growing up, and I always try to re-create those elements here for my own kids that attend this camp and for all the kids that we have coming through. Being a kid in summer is like a time warp, perfect days just flow back to back each one so pregnant with possibility, the days last longer when you’re a little kid. Maybe it’s the lack of responsibility or the newness of life growing up, but those times get imprinted in us (at least for me) more perfectly than other periods in our lives. As we approach some hopefully long stretches of sunny, warm and let’s throw some hot days in here too, I hope some drag on for you and your kids and I hope you get some of those golden summer days that will leave a positive imprint this summer.
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Written by: Dave Colby
Summer Camp Director / Director of Tennis