Summer / Camp Stories: "How Daycamp Taught me to be an Ewok"

Summer / Camp Stories: "How Daycamp Taught me to be an Ewok"
I was a furry little guy once.

During camp, most kids learn how to fish or make a fire or create a pot, hobbies that are somewhat useful or – at the very least – cool to brag about.

I learned how to be an Ewok. Perhaps I should explain.

I spent summers in Florida with my dad and stepmom, who both worked. So, during the day, my brother and I would go to day camp. (It's just like daycare, but it's called camp and you do more outdoor activities. It's a subtle difference. Bear with me here.)

I don't remember a ton about day camp. We played sports. We had arts and crafts time that involved way too much macaroni. I spent a lot of time explaining to my fellow campers that just because I spent the school year up in Indiana didn't mean I lived on a farm. I don't think I even saw my first farm until I was a teenager.

What I remember most, though, was pretending to be an Ewok with my brother and other campers. This group, by the way, was not the cool group.

For those of you not familiar with "Star Wars," an Ewok is a small, chubby bear-like creature with a tremendous ability to kill body-armor-wearing, laser-holding Stormtroopers (clone things we later find out, but forget about that) with sticks and bows and arrows.

Most kids play cowboys and Indians, not small, chubby bear-like creatures and galactic riot police. But just about every day we would come up with some wild new adventure for us Ewoks to go on. Some days it would involve climbing to the top of the playset. Other days it would involve running mindlessly around the playset. I'm sure there was some sort of plot, but if there was, I've long since forgotten it. Let's just pretend it was like the plot to "War and Peace," which coincidentally I've also long since forgotten.

We did other camp activities, sure, but pretending to be an Ewok is what stands out most in my memory. I wasn't a cowboy. I wasn't an Indian. But I was the best darn small, chubby bear-like creature I could be. And, really, what more could you ask for from day camp?


Joe Grace is a writer and journalist who lives in Chicago with his wife. Read more of his writings at Email him at

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