In the small Wisconsin town where I spent my first nine years, there was a boys' military school where my dad used to work that also ran a popular summer camp. We would drive by the wooded campground and I would gawk at the little cabins, painted brown and dark green, each having an exotic Wisconsin Indian name like "Menominee" or "Oneida" or "Ho-Chunk," my favorite. In my dimming memory I seem to recall the camp as girls-only for one of the weeks of the summer, but for reasons unknown (but probably financial) I never got to attend, although I very much wanted to go. Sleepaway camp seemed exotic and exciting and adventurous, even though it was less than a quarter-mile down the same street where I lived.

Fast-forward in time, and I have my own little girl who yesterday we dropped off at a Girl Scout camp about an hour away, her very first sleepaway camp experience. Her two older brothers have been to  camp several times, and I have become an expert camp-packer (pro tips: label everything, tightly roll clothing and sort by function and place in labelled Zip-Loc bags, send garbage bags for dirty and wet clothes, don't send anything you or your child wouldn't mind losing). It's a gentle little introduction to being away from home on her own: it's only 3 nights, and she is sharing a cabin with two of her best friends. I have no doubt she will have a wonderful time, despite a few last-minute tears over her worrying about the camp swim test. Awww.

Checking in with the duffle bag...checking out the other girls.

The camp store, where a t-shirt and a rustic wooden pen were purchased.

MissEight and her pal decided to get matching hats for camp.

A long wait in line for a health check -- head, feet, mouth, and temperature.

Then, off to join the other girls in their group, and meet their counselors.

With a quick hug, my job was done, and I said goodbye to MissEight as she started on her little summer adventure, 40 years and 2000 miles away from another surprisingly-similar-looking 8-year-old girl staring longingly into the woods.