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You’re Sending Me Where?

Dispatches from Summer Camp

2017
Author:

Eric Dregni

You’re Sending Me Where?

Summer camp is wild, but what happens when you add Italians to the mix?

Eric Dregni takes us back to those boyhood days of running head-on into nature with his fellow campers and learning a few valuable lessons. From discouraging summer love to soothing homesick campers, this wise, funny book reassures us that there’s still a place in the woods where, unplugged from devices, children can connect with the natural world—and with each other.

I no longer dreaded the outdoors but knew that if I put on enough bug spray and sun cream, I would survive and thrive at camp. I remembered the mirror lakes reflecting the puffy rabbit-shaped clouds, and the pair of loons who crooned just for me. I longed to be filthy from rolling down hills, dizzy from climbing trees, fearless when starting campfires, and dangerous with my big stick ready to take down any bears that attacked . . . . Ever since that first painful day, I knew that camp was for me.

Eric Dregni, from the Introduction

Welcome! Benvenuti! It’s summertime in northern Minnesota and a bus full of kids is about to arrive at the Italian Concordia Language Village, better known as camp. Inexplicably the chief lifeguard has chosen this moment to conduct a “missing villager drill,” prompting staff to strip to their underwear in a simulated rush to search the lake. It’s an inopportune time for a surprise visit from the Health Inspector, but there he is—just as an Italian counselor calls through the walkie-talkie, “My God, there’s blood everywhere!” He’s finally clobbered the chipmunk that’s been stealing his candy.

When at age six he had to be hauled kicking and screaming on the bus bound for camp, Eric Dregni could not have imagined this moment. But all the days and weeks of summer camp since then have shown him the abundant pleasures of this uniquely American experience—and given him plenty of stories to tell. In You’re Sending Me Where? Dregni takes us back to those boyhood days of running head-on into nature with his fellow campers and learning a few valuable lessons, such as don’t let the van driver leave you and your canoe until you’re sure there’s actually water in the “flowage.”

From discouraging summer love to soothing homesick campers to—Oh no! Bats!—taking everyone to town for their rabies shots, to the difficulty of saying goodbye, Eric Dregni’s wise, funny book reassures us that there’s still a place in the woods where, unplugged from devices and screens, children of all ages can connect with the natural world—and with each other.

You’re Sending Me Where?

Eric Dregni is the author of seventeen books, including In Cod We Trust, Midwest Marvels, By the Waters of Minnetonka, and most recently Let’s Go Fishing!, all published by the University of Minnesota Press. He is associate professor of English, journalism, and Italian at Concordia University, and in the summer he is dean of the Italian Concordia Language Village. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Katy, and three busy kids.

You’re Sending Me Where?

I no longer dreaded the outdoors but knew that if I put on enough bug spray and sun cream, I would survive and thrive at camp. I remembered the mirror lakes reflecting the puffy rabbit-shaped clouds, and the pair of loons who crooned just for me. I longed to be filthy from rolling down hills, dizzy from climbing trees, fearless when starting campfires, and dangerous with my big stick ready to take down any bears that attacked . . . . Ever since that first painful day, I knew that camp was for me.

Eric Dregni, from the Introduction

You’re Sending Me Where?

Contents
What Did I Do to Deserve This?
Foxfire
The River That Wasn’t There
No Road to Camp
Another Day at American Camp
Me? A Dean?
Beaver Pride
Good Impressions on Opening Day
Mother Duck
Ninjas vs. Pirates
Not So Politically Correct
“Friendship” Tournament
Red Neck Days
Bat Camp
Beware the Sharktopus and Sidehill Gougers!
Keep ’em Separated
Cuddly Skunks
The Cheese Wiz Eats Crow
Going Sauvage
There Will Be Blood . . .
Coffee Emergency
The Last Day of Camp