Saturday, December 12, 2009

“What’d you do? See Meatballs or something and think camp would be the coolest, funnest place in the world?”…….BSC Super Special # 2: Baby-sitters’ S

Memory Reaction

I don’t remember a lot about this book, but I do remember a lot of the plot surrounding Mary Anne and Logan. Seriously, it is burned into my brain that Mary Anne gets in trouble for sneaking out to see Logan, and when she gets banned from something for three days and is all, “oh how sad.” Then her counselor tells her how she once snuck out to see a boy. Then Logan gets in trouble for starting a food fight, and he gets a similar punishment, and is all, “oh how sad.” Then his counselor tells him he started a food fight once too.

I think I only remember that because it seemed so unbelievable that they would have such similar experiences and it felt out of place. I mean, it was done to be funny (or something), but the BSC books did not usually go for plot devices like that.

Oh, and this book may or may not have been one of the reasons I begged to go to camp when I was thirteen.

Revisited Reaction

While watching the Parent Trap, the girls in the BSC decide it would be fun to go to camp. They all end up signing up for two weeks at Camp Mohawk. Stacey’s living back in NY at this point, but the rest of the girls talk her into going as well. In addition, the BSC inspires some of their siblings and clients to go, and there ends up being 23 people from Stoneybrook. Seven from the BSC (including Logan), six of Mallory’s siblings (Claire was too young), Karen, David-Michael, Becca Ramsey, Charlotte Johanssen, Haley and Matt Braddock, Buddy Barrett, Shea and Jackie Rodowsky, and Nancy Dawes (Karen’s friend).

The older BSC members are going as CITs, or “Counselors in Training.” This is an excuse to get them to baby-sit while off at camp. Basically, they help the counselors with the kids, but have some free time, and get to do things like attend a dance and movie night with the boy’s camp. Mallory and Jessi are too young to be CITs, but on their applications they write about how much they like baby-sitting, and so they get to be “Juinor CITs.” This means that they are regular campers, but get the “special project” of helping some 8-year-old girls prepare a dance number for Parents’ Day.

All the older girls end up assigned to different cabins so they have their own little adventure.
  • Kristy: Is assigned to Becca and Charlotte’s cabin and has to deal with the fact that Charlotte is crazy-homesick. She also has to deal with her co-CITs, who insist on giving her a makeover for the big dance. They do, she’s actually impressed with how she looks in make-up, but was happy to take it all off after the dance.
  • Claudia: Falls in “LUV” at first sight with some guy CIT she saw when some boys visit her cabin to officially invite the girls to the CIT dance. She moons over him until the movie night when they finally talk. He’s totally into her as well, and they get to spend two evenings together (a movie night and the dance) before going home.
  • Stacey: Gets poison ivy, a cold, impetigo, pinkeye, and a ton of insect bites. She ends up spending several days in the infirmary. That’s what happens when you take a city girl out of Manhattan.
  • Mary Anne: Her fellow CITs don’t believe she has a boyfriend, so she writes this flowery note to Logan for them to “find.” When they read it, they talk her into sneaking out at night to walk around the lake to see Logan. She gets caught, but earns the respect of the other girls. However, she is embarrassed that Logan saw the note, since it wasn’t the type thing she usually gave him. But he seems to like it anyway. She earns their respect again when another CIT asks to pierce her ears. Mary Anne tells her to go ahead and do it, but the other girl can’t go through with it.
  • Dawn: Is intrigued a camper that is quiet and bookish. Then, on an overnight camping trip in the woods, her cabin gets lost and ends up back at camp 24 hours late. And the quiet girl saves the day, of course.
  • Mal and Jessi: Get a total of three chapters between them, even though most of the other girls get three or four each. They have the same story, which is: Their cabin mates are really bitchy to them because they think Mal and Jessi are babies. A couple of them are racist on top of that. But Mal and Jessi cast Charlotte and Becca as twins in the dance/skit they are preparing and this magically gets a couple of them to apologize.
  • Logan: He gets teased by his fellow CITs when they hear about Mary Anne sneaking around the lake. He even starts a food fight over it. But his friends come around when they meet Mary Anne at the dance.
Stacey asks everyone to keep a diary of their experiences so she can have a complete record of the trip….and this is the traditional framework for how the Super Special is written.

High/Lowlights

  • So, Camp Mohawk is one camp, owned by a couple – The Means. It has a boys’ camp on one side of a lake (where Mr. Mean’s in charge) and a girls camp (where Mrs. Mean’s in charge) on the other. We find out that both camps have cabins, a mess hall, an infirmary, an arts and crafts cabin, etc. This seems really impractical to me, because it they’re paying twice for the same staff/services. Why not have one of all the general stuff and just have separate sleeping cabins?
  • The campers at Camp Mohawk range in age from 6 to 11, but you have to be thirteen to be a CIT. I guess all twelve-year-olds who want to attend are just screwed?
  • There are two adjoining cabins for each age, with six campers, two CITs, and one counselor on each side. Has anyone been to camp where the cabins were that small? The one I went to had about twenty kids in each, and some age groups had more than one cabin. But, every camp book I’ve ever read had cabins with really small numbers of people – I guess to make the story easier to follow.
  • Also, what are the chances that every single age group would have the same number of campers (for both genders).
  • The number of cabins also means that Camp Mohawk has 144 campers and 48 CITs, at any one point in time. This means that the Stoneybrook crew accounts for about 10% of the customers. I wonder how the camp survived before that? Seriously, the camp has that many new customers from one place and it doesn’t affect their total attendee-number?
  • Dawn is a CIT for one of the 11-year-old cabins, but not the one Mal and Jessi are in. And Dawn’s campers all seem like cool, friendly, girls, while Mal and Jessi get stuck with the bitchy racist ones.
  • The only two BSC members who are in the same cabin are Jessi and Mallory, so we end up with almost no interaction between all the girls. The only chapters where they talk to each other are in the first couple chapters, and then the chapters about the CIT dance.
  • Apparently, there’s one person at Camp Mohawk with an actual Mohawk….a counselor named “Mohawk Jo”. She actually showed up at camp with it dyed red and blue, so when Mrs. Means complained, Joe washed out the dye and just had a normal Mohawk. However, Mrs. Means thought she had won some battle because the color was gone. Kristy describes this as “smart.”
  • This book sucks in terms of outfits, because everyone has to wear the camp uniform – shirts, shorts, socks, and sometimes sweaters that have a teepee on them. But we still get several instances of people describing their whole outfits they way they normally describe Claud’s outfits. If I thought the ghostwriters were smarter, I’d call it satire.
  • For example, this is Logan’s outfit: “I put on my teepee shorts and polo shirt and tied my teepee sweater casually around my shoulders. Then I put on my teepee socks and my Reeboks.”
  • Stacey points out that the Mohawk Indians are part of the Iroquois Nation….who lived in longhouses, not teepees. I can’t imagine how it feels to be thirteen and see a continuity error in something.
  • Mallory puts up with a lot with her siblings. Since Margo gets carsick, Mal carries a barf bag onto the bus, and sits with sick Margo on the drive up.
  • Claudia writes a letter to Mimi that starts with, “Hi, Who are you?” I mean, poor Mimi has enough problems with language after her stroke, and Claudia goes and writes something like that?
  • The bathrooms are apparently in separate cabins. That seems a little….not smart. I know camping is roughing it, but what if a six-year-old wakes up in the middle of the night and has to pee?
  • Mallory makes armbands that label her and Jessi as “Juinor CITs.” Even Jessi knows it’s just going to make them look like more of an outcast. But she puts them on anyway, because she wants to be a good friend.
  • Not only does Stacey get sick, but she’s the CIT assigned to Karen’s cabin. Poor girl.
  • Mrs. Means gives a talk the first night of camp about how Lyme disease has only recently become a problem. And that makes me feel old, because I remember hearing about Lyme disease when I was pretty young.
  • Is it wrong that this book is how I learned what the term “oreo” meant?
  • Kristy makes a point of telling us how she feels different from her fellow CITs because, despite having to wear a uniform, she brought the wrong shoes and stands out. The shoes in question are a pair of blue Velcro “ponies” instead of laced white sneakers. And on the cover, they make a point of showing Kristy in blue shoes…but ones with laces.
  • At the dance, everyone starts cutting in on each other. This happens in several of the BSC books, and I don’t buy 13-year-olds doing that.
  • In Stacey’s cabin, the adjoining cabin does this traditional prank where they “Christmas” the other cabin – put Christmas decorations, powder snow, and stockings with token gifts. They say that no one knows which Age 6 cabin will Christmas each other when, but if one cabin hasn’t heard about it, don’t they kind of know they’ll be the “victim.”
  • So, on the last day of camp, all the parents come and watch a show. Then we hear that the Pikes are driving around to the other side of the lake to pick up the boys. So….do they not have a show on the boy’s side? Or is it later so parents can go to both of them?
  • Kristy’s co-CIT is named Tansy, who claims her name means tenacious. And Kristy is all, “I looked up my name in a baby-name book and couldn’t find it.” And I have to call bullshit on that, cause I have the same name and have always been able to find it in name books. It doesn’t have an interesting meaning, but it’s there.
  • As soon as I started reading this scene, I remembered it: Claudia finds an inch worm and puts it on her co-CIT’s bed to “see how she would react.” Then when the other girl screams, Claud is all, “Oh, I guess that’s how!”
  • I remembered this too: Claudia going to the canteen with her campers, and them being amazed at the HUGE pile of junk food she got.
  • They make a point of explaining how no one can remember/pronounce the name of the lake at the camp….and every single time the lake is mentioned, it’s spelled differently. Like, Dekadonka, then Deckasaga, then Dekanawida, then Demidonkey, etc. I’m sure I didn’t notice that as a kid, but I think it’s hilarious.

21 comments:

Lenora said...

When I went to summer camp, there were 8 kids to a cabin (4 bunk beds), with one counselor, who was college age. There was a toilet in the cabin (which one of the top bunks could look over the wall [no ceiling, just the rafters] and see into . . . ), but the showers were (a.) communal, and (b.) in another building out back of all the cabins. ALMOST all of us were modest enough to wear swimsuits in the shower, heh. One year sewage backed up into the showers--this would be the year that I showered twice the entire week, and the boy I knew from home only did once. Pretty sure there was no pooping, either, since it was incredibly obvious anytime anyone did, and I was too embarrassed.

Pebble Stone said...

YOU POSTED! It's been quite some time. Haha, very hilarious one. I don't have much to say about it; I never went to camp. In fact, this book, especially Stacey's chapters, played a large role in why. Why I didn't go to camp. I mean.

Cousin Stavros' Lonely Hearts Club Band said...

" * Kristy’s co-CIT is named Tansy, who claims her name means tenacious. And Kristy is all, “I looked up my name in a baby-name book and couldn’t find it.” And I have to call bullshit on that, cause I have the same name and have always been able to find it in name books. It doesn’t have an interesting meaning, but it’s there."

So that's that that Big Love character's name means.

Anonymous said...

i fucking hate that bitch karen

Anonymous said...

The campers at Camp Mohawk range in age from 6 to 11, but you have to be thirteen to be a CIT. I guess all twelve-year-olds who want to attend are just screwed? you are so funny

maybeimamazed02 said...

OMG, I LOVED this one, even though I actually hated the overnight camp I went to one summer.

You aren't the only one who learned what "oreo" meant from this book.

Kristy is short for Kristin. That DEFINITELY would have been in a baby name book. My name is fairly common now, but was much less so when I was a kid, and I sure as hell could find it in baby name books.

Great post!

Lori said...

I was surprised Mary Anne snuck out that's so not a thing she would so but thought it was cool

I too learned what oreo meant in this book

megan s said...

For example, this is Logan’s outfit: “I put on my teepee shorts and polo shirt and tied my teepee sweater casually around my shoulders. Then I put on my teepee socks and my Reeboks.”

(what guy wears his sweater that way? and why do you need a sweater at camp?)

what camp makes kids wear uniforms? wouldn't that be really expensive?? the one time i went to 4-h camp we could wear whatever we wanted too!

Also, I bet Stacey got sick on purpose so she wouldn't have to be around Karen, lol

Jen said...

This one was always my favorite super special, and led to years of wishing I could go to summer camp. Instead, I went to a week long overnight camp which was awful. All the girls brought caboodles (remember those?) full of make up, and someone broke a glow stick open on the 2nd night and flung it around, getting the gooey stuff in someone's eye. Turns out that stuff has GLASS in it. Terrible.

Totally ruined my view of summer camp. But I still like to read book about it. =)

Maddy said...

The thing about the 12-year-olds always bugged me! And I totally wanted to go to summee camp because of this book even though I hated the camps I went on with school.

Anonymous said...

Mary Anne gets in trouble for sneaking out to see Logan, and when she gets banned from something for three days and is all, “oh how sad.” Then her counselor tells her how she once snuck out to see a boy. Then Logan gets in trouble for starting a food fight, and he gets a similar punishment, and is all, “oh how sad.”the punishments they got were Mary Anne no swimming of three days and Logan no arts and crafts for three days that is why they are not sad

Anonymous said...

As I recall, and wikipedia confirms it, Tansy is a flower that in the past was often used to induce abortions. I wish I could say the counselor being named Tansy had some deeper zen meaning but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

I loved this one. It made me want to go to Summer Camp. I remember thinking how lame Mallory and Jessi were for insisting on being "Junior CITs". I distinctly remember Stacey having to take back her lunch in the mess hall because it wasn't diabetes-appropriate and the cook gave her a hard time. And then the campers wondered why she got special food. Oh the days....

angsty_otaku said...

A lot of camps have an off year so the people that are counselors of any sort are more than just a year older than the campers. Of course, usually the age of campers is a lot higher. The camp I worked at had the camper cut off age to be 15 and the JC (CIT) age to be 17. Also, we had about 6-10 campers in a cabin with 2-3 counselors/JCs.

Though my camp didn't have it, but another camp I applied to work at did have a brother camp where it had its own facilities. Some people do like sending their kids off to non-co-ed camps. The profit you make from these camps outweighs the cost of running it.

angsty_otaku said...

Also, our bathrooms weren't connected to the cabins. It makes things easier in the end, though a lot of the girls ended up bushing it. Which is really disgusting in the end.

Dana said...

I went to a Girl Scout Camp and we slept on cots in A frame cabins. My 7th grade year there were over 100 cadets in my session so they put us in tents. Even the counselors (they had a small tent)

Campers had to use latrines and communal showers. CITs and Counselors got to share a bathroom with real running water :D.

The cutoff age for CIT was 14 and you had to be in the 9th grade. But you could still attend camp as a camper if you are older then 14. CITs went for 2 weeks and we helped in different areas. You didn't get to be in charge of a group of campers until you were CIT II and you couldn't be a counselor until you were 16. I loved that camp even if I suffered from homesickness. One year I actually got sick and went home. I don't think the nurse believed I wasn't well until I had a fever the day before the last day.

edkchestnut said...

Oh, how I wanted to go to summer camp and be a counselor. I did go to a week-long church camp for four summers but, by the time I was old enough to be a counselor, I had different interests. I loved this book so much.

Britt said...

Ohhhmygosh I'm 3 or 4 years late on this post, but this book was my favorite of the whole series, possibly because I also grew up with all the Goosebumps books about camp (Horror at Camp Jellyjam, Camp Cold Lake, Ghost Camp, and I think there were one or two others).

I went to camp 3 times as a kid, once from ages 11-13. I went to 'drama' camp (musical theatre. For real) two summers in a row, and there were around 8 campers per cabin and one counselor in each as well. The bathrooms were separate. When I was 13, I went to 'bible camp' (I'm not remotely religious so this was kind of an absurd choice on my behalf), with two cabins: one long one with 30 girls, and a small one with 10 boys. There were liiiike 5 male counselors and 3 female, which was odd. The bathrooms were IN the cabins at that camp.

The whole "Campers are 6 to 11, CITs need to be 13" thing drove me nuts, too, because there were definitely CITs saying this was their 2nd year as one, so obviously they would've been 12 at the time? Drove me crazy as a kid, still drives me crazy. Totally nonsensical.

Anonymous said...

"Is it wrong that this book is how I learned what the term “oreo” meant?"

Some years back my local zoo acquired two orphan bear cubs, a grizzly and a polar. As an experiment, they kept them in the same cage and raised them as brothers. They named the brown bear...Oreo.

Thanks to the BSC, I was able to explain to everyone why this was offensive.

Sara S

Anonymous said...

I'm also part of team "this book taught me what an Oreo was".

I attended/worked at a summer camp where the cabins were 8 kids, 1 counselor, and 1 CIT2 per cabin. (our camp had CIT 1, which was the first phase of teaching leadership and caring for kids, then CIT 2 which was more what the CITs in the book did.) The cabins were adjoining (in that they shared a breezeway between.) The toilets/showers were communal.

I remember sneaking out of the CIT sleepovers and smoking with the boy CITs behind the dining hall (I was a good kid but a bad-a$$ anyway).

Sara919 said...

I was also confused about why they didn't allow 12 year olds to the camp. And I also never noticed the lake name changed throughout the book until I recently reread it. I thought that was pretty clever.