Camp Song

“The final campfire, we would sing a song, well, it’s been a while so I forget how it goes, but so our camp was on one side of the lake and on the other side of the lake was a Jesus camp. Apparently that’s what it was called, I dunno, but that’s what we called it. We kind of liked to mess with them a little bit, I dunno if we thought that we were better or something, but it was just a fun thing to do for us during camp. And so what we were singing about was really, I mean it wasn’t malevolent at all it was just a fun camp song, but the last line of the song was “AND NOW HE’S DEAD”* and we would just scream it across the lake. And we had all this fire, so, it would look at all scary.”

*At this line, all of the campers would shake their arms up in the air.

This was a custom enacted by the children at my informant’s camp. It always occurred at the end of the summer, a last huzzah of sorts. The religious camp across the lake was different from the camp my informant attended; it’s possible that there was something of a rivalry, or perhaps they just didn’t get along, but the screamed last line was a definite intentional goading. More importantly, though, it’s a tradition at the camp that unites the campers against the ‘others’ across the lake, and most likely played into numerous jokes at the other camp’s expense. It would be done on the final night to re-cement this impression and the unity among the campers before they had to disperse, ending the period of the summer to start a new one.