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Camp Osoha, R.I.P.

Camp Osoha, R.I.P.

I got the saddest news this weekend — Camp Osoha, the place that saved my life, is closing it’s doors after 89 years.

I went to Osoha for five years, during which, I moved twice and switched custodial parents. To say that Camp was the only stable point in my life for many years is an understatement. And Linda Porter, the camp director, has been a touchstone throughout all these decades — someone I could go back to years later for advice.

Maybe it’s a western thing, but as an adult I don’t meet very many people who went to these kinds of all-summer sleepaway camps. Osoha, and my brother’s camp, Red Arrow, had seven week sessions, and we all came back year after year. You tell people that and they look at you like you like it was child abuse. Seven weeks? Who would send their kid away all summer?

All I can say is thank goodness my parents managed to scrape it together each summer to send us back to camp. Camp was where I learned how to get along with other people, how to be a team, and how to work really hard to achieve a goal. And it was always the same. For me, who had one of those childhoods where nothing was ever the same, the fact that I could come back year after year and nothing changed, the kids in my cabin were the same, the counselors were the same, the songs and activities and rituals were the same. It’s where I learned that things really could be okay.

It’s very sad. The end of an era and I can understand why Linda is giving up the struggle to keep camp open and going. She took over Camp Osoha in 1975, and I suppose there just isn’t anyone to hand it off to. I think the perfect solution is to make it a B&B, where all of us geezers can come back, sleep in our old bunks, go canoeing, and maybe play a little tennis. We can have a council fire and sing all the goofy old songs … the bunch of old ladies that we are now …