Tag Archives: camp songs


“If there were witchcraft, I’d make two wishes,

a winding road that beckons me to roam,

and then I’d wish for a blazing campfire,

to welcome me when I’m returning home.

But, in this real world there is no witchcraft and golden wishes do no grow on trees.

Our fondest day dreams must be the magic that brings us back our happy memories.

Memories that linger, constant and true,

memories we’ll cherish, Camp Lo-Kai of you.

“I would sing this song at camp, always around a fire. We usually closed each night at camp with a big bon-fire. This would be the last song we’d sing before we headed to our cabins for the night! My friends and I just found out recently that the lyrics actually say “If there were wish craft”, so we’d been singing it wrong all this time! We do think the actual lyrics do make a little bit more sense than what we had been singing.”

Songs are an integral part of many camping experiences. In my mind, these songs help form a sense of community among the campers. This song in particular seems to evoke a certain nostalgia, a fondness for memories and a hope that the memories made during camp will last a lifetime. Indeed, this does seem to be the case for the informant, as she still meets with some of her camp friends, often singing this song when they do.

I found the shift in the lyrics interesting, especially given the fact that the informant and her friends came to like what was supposedly the original script of the song. This illustrates the change that is characteristic of folklore, but also brings up an important nuance: that this change is not always unidirectional, and can change back and forth depending on the sensibilities of the performer.

Camp Cheley Songs

There are 3 songs we sing each night at Camp Cheley. Every unit sings different songs and you just kind of hear everyone else and pick it up. And then…you want me to just tell you the three songs my unit sang everyday at camp?


“Peace I ask of thee o River

Peace, Peace,  Peace

When I learn to live serenely

Cares will cease

from the hills I gather courage

visions of the days to be

Strength to lead and faith to follow

all are given unto thee

peace I ask of you oh river

Peace, peace, peace”

SONG 2: We call this one the Chipeta Call.

If you listen one and all

you can hear the chipeta call

you can feel the spirit rise

wheree’er you go may you never forget

that glad day

when we met

and those dear old chipeta girls

we love

so well.


Song 3: The last one we sing every night is Taps…You probably know it?

Day is done, gone the sun

From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky

All is well, safely rest

God is nigh


Context of the performance:

The informant shared these camp songs with a table of friends, among them the collector, during a Monday night dinner.

Thoughts on the performance:

It is interesting how the song “Taps” has become such a part of their camp folklore that the informant was almost a little surprised when others at the table indicated recognition.

Also it is interesting that she spoke these traditions in present tense, i.e. “the last one we sing every night”, because she is too old to return as a camper, demonstrates the cyclical nature of these camp songs and rituals.