Every August as camp winds down I go in search of the best gift ever for the owners of Jane and Alexander’s favorite camp. They’re both women, so we’ve done candles, purses, and keychains. We’ve done wine and food, and the only gift I’ve never given them is a public referral.
This is the problem with owning a summer camp. My kids each started at Tocaloma when they were four years old. In the first years they went the minimum number of days in part because it was expensive and in part because they were little, and how much time does a four-year-old actually need at camp?
They came home singing silly songs that involved jumping and clapping and singing with your tongue sticking out. They came home with friends from other parts of town and other parts of the country. They came home filthy and tired and smelling of chlorine and sunscreen.
My children have camp friends who will surely last a lifetime. There’s something special about summer friends. They’re the friends you never compete with. There are games at camp but not much in the way of scores. There are no grades, no cliques and no time for hair and makeup. These are some of the most precious friendships my children will ever have.
I have dropped Jane off at Tocaloma for a dozen summers, and she’s cried at the end of each of them. Alexander for two less, he hasn’t cried, but he misses those camp friends at the end and as June rolls around my kids get excited not just for summer but for Tocaloma.
In twelve years we’ve never had a problem with Tocaloma. It’s not normal. This isn’t how camp works, you’re supposed to have a problem at some point in time, but we simply haven’t.
You’re probably wondering why I haven’t ever talked about Tocaloma before? Well, my kids didn’t want to go to camp with their school year friends. They didn’t want to go to camp with family friends, they wanted to go to camp where they didn’t have attachments and I have honored that and will continue to with the other camps they are still attending. Both kids will be CITs next summer and it’s not the kind of camp where you can just pop in and say, “Hey, I’m here I want to be a CIT.” (or so I’ve been told) so the kids gave me the go-ahead to share with you what just might be the best summer camp in Los Angeles.
When January rolls around, and it’s time to make summer plans I highly encourage you to put Tocaloma on the list. It’s a great camp for great kids.
So Tiffany and Erica this is my gift to you. It’s not a purse or a candle; it’s my sincerest thank you for helping Jane and Alexander develop into confident, happy, silly, smart and strong teenagers. It’s been a dozen summers of joy.