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Letter America: Camp Photos

October 1, 2012, 9:00 am
By Robert Wilder

Mr. Tad Huddleston

Camp Director

Camp Clear Crystal Lakes

Cricket Corner, New Hampshire


Dear Mr Huddleston,

My wife Madison and I appreciate the 400 or so photos posted each day to the CCCL website. As new parents, we eagerly await the ninety minutes after dinner when we can sit back over a glass of white burgundy and admire the myriad activities that CCCL provide. Your photographer does a bang up job capturing the archery, canoeing, wakeboarding (I think you call it that), ceramics, and even mealtimes in the canteen. Maybe it’s because MacKenzie is our only child, a reticent one to boot, and we’re older parents, or because this is her first time at CCCL, but we have some concerns based on the photographic evidence if you will. I’ve labeled the photos by date and number so you may reference them easily. Madison said I should wait a week before sending these instead of updating you daily. That’s why all entries are in the present tense.

Date: 6/15 Photo number: 235

From what I can gauge, MacKenzie is standing over three feet from the rest of her cabin mates. No one else has that sort of distance which leads me to believe that she’s not fully accepted. Could you please check with the counselors to see if they’ve done enough “ice breakers”? Perhaps ask Mackie (her nickname; is anyone using it?) to do her rendition of “76 Trombones” to help the other children see her as fun and confident. It’s been a slight issue in the past.

6/15 298

It’s hard to pick out Mackie in the whole camp photo. I think she is on the fourth row, thirteenth from the right. Not smiling. Is she ok?

6/16 112

In this one, she looks absolutely miserable around the campfire and the shadows make her appear almost sinister. She has asthma so it might be the smoke. Please ask her counselor to make sure she brings her inhaler to any event that includes smoke, pollen, water, dust mites, or flour. Maybe the photographer could shoot from another angle or use better lighting next time?

6/16 176

Who braided her hair? It’s a pretty terrible job. Can you assure us that there’s never been a lice problem at CCCL? Bedbugs? Do the counselors require the children to wash their hands before touching hair or face? Is the water filtered?

6/16 243

That is definitely not a bathing suit we packed for Mackie. How the hell did this happen? We would never let her wear anything that has the word “Juicy” so boldly emblazoned upon her derriere. Please talk to her personally about this matter. Obviously, the counselors are not responsible enough to handle them acting like Third World refugees who need to borrow clothes from one another.

6/16 301

I really hope she is not praying in this one. It has to be a joke or a skit or something. Correct? According to the brochure, CCCL is not affiliated with any religion or faith. I checked.

6/16 323

I think that’s Mackie’s arm in the southwest corner and it’s starting to get sunburned. We sent her with outstanding broad spectrum sunscreen. Please have her use it and reapply often. Oh, and while we we’re on the subject, we packed swim shirts and pants from Coolibar. You’ve probably noticed how fair-skinned she is, and we want her to stay that way. We all wear them. They’re quite comfortable once you get accustomed. Please ask the counselor and photographer to get together and snap some action shots of Mackie swimming in her “Coolies” so we can rest easy.

6/17 167

I understand this is only the third day but Mackenzie is still wearing the same Just Do It t-shirt she had on when we put her on the bus in Tribeca. She has plenty of shirts and you guaranteed laundry service. Don’t your counselors notice things like that? It makes us wonder what else they aren’t noticing.

6/17 188

Looks absolutely miserable.

6/17 189

Same.

6/17 190

Ditto.

6/17 287

Why is everyone in her cabin holding hands and she’s holding a book? Really?

6/17

Looks simply exhausted. And sad.

6/18 301

Please tell me that girl with the puffy cheeks and freckles isn’t holding a bagel with peanut butter two spaces away from Mackie. We’ve made it very clear that she has nut allergies and I’m sure she doesn’t have her epi pen handy. And while we’re on it, Mackie is not eating in this photo and she looks thin to me. Is it possible to get an update on what she’s consuming during meals? Do you have a caloric intake chart posted in the canteen? Do you serve soy milk? Mackie really loves those dried seaweed snacks if you can get those. And the soy milk if you don’t already serve it.

6/18 323

Why so few pictures of Mackie today? Is she ok?

6/19 111

There’s a girl that’s appearing frequently on photos with M. In this one, she’s forming her fingers into kind of ovals with three fingers pointing in opposite directions. Is this code for something? Profanity? I hate to be picky but the girl’s hair is obviously dyed; she has multiple piercings and is wearing eyeliner which I thought was forbidden. We’re glad Mackie has a friend but could you give us some info on her? Nothing too personal, maybe some background and have the counselors keep a close eye on them for a few days and send us field observations as it were. We’d really appreciate it.

6/19 269

Please just take the Just Do It t-shirt away from Mackie when she’s sleeping and donate it to the needy. I don’t know why we even bought it for her; she’s not much of an athlete. Wait. She better not be wearing that shirt to bed. You have our permission to steal the nasty thing anytime you get the opportunity.

6/20 145

Please have Mackie brush her hair. She looks homeless. The other parents must think we’re awful.

6/20 222

Any way to spruce up the cabins? They’re starting to look dreary and I’m guessing it’s having an impact on Mackie’s mood. Maybe some simple tapestries or colorful shades? Fresh flowers might be too hard where you are. Wait. Can you get the counselors to pick some wildflowers? Mackie’s great at arranging. She took a class at the yoga place she goes to with her mom.

6/20 287

The piercings girl hasn’t been in the last few Mackenzie photos. Everything ok? Did they have a falling out? If so, what about?

6/20 301

This has nothing to do with our child but we thought you should know that the girl with the too low cut blouse is wearing headphones. As you know, electronics are forbidden at CCCL. Just giving you a heads up.

6/21 100

There are a few typos on the notice at the top of the page. The word should be spelled “they’re” as in “they’re having a ball,” not “there” as written. The third sentence should have a period after “lake”. The fifth sentence is a comma splice.

6/21 123

We like the fact that she’s smiling, but she’s so filthy! I know I should have asked this before we sent her, but how often are the campers required to shower? Is there some sort of hygiene check?

6/21 145

Looks bored.

6/21 265

Pouty.

6/21 315

Cranky.

6/22 92

If she doesn’t take stupid shirt off soon, I’m driving up to remove it myself. If there’s any way for her to call us, please allow her do so. I know it’s against policy but this dirty t-shirt thing is way out of control. I don’t even want to Google the skin infections that might occur from this type of slovenly behavior.

6/22 178

Please tell me that’s not a hot tub in the background.

6/22 231

I’m glad Mackie is active but no one is wearing shin guards in that soccer game. I never played the game myself, but I know that most leagues require shin guards. Some even offer padded headbands to prevent concussions. How soon could you get this vital safety equipment?

6/22 256

That backflip is pretty impressive but many of the kids look left out, not only Mackie. Since there’s no way Mackie will be doing anything close to that, could you please ask the backflipping kids to refrain from doing them? We’d appreciate it.

6/22 299

I think those campers are a little too close to the campfire, don’t you? Flaming marshmallows might as well be napalm for Pete’s sake.

I think that’s about it. Madison and I look forward to you addressing our concerns in the next few days.

Sincerely,

Hal A. Coptor

 

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