Tomorrow you leave for overnight camp, the first time you will be away from home for more than a night and/or not under the supervision of a loving Jewish grandparent. Overnight camp is one of the true gifts of your young life -- a reward, if you will, for all of the hardwork you put into school and dance and following (most) of the rules the rest of the year. I wanted to give you some fatherly advice as you head out for what I'm sure will be the most fun you've ever had.
1. Use bug spray like it's going out of style. Your bites balloon up nicely so don't be bashful. Trust me, you'll be glad you lathered it on.
2. Initiate new friendships. All your existing friends will be here when you get back. Learn about people from other places, what they like and what they do. It will open up wonderful new relationships that you will have after camp is over.
3. Have fun.
4. S'mores are a marathon not a sprint. Don't set the marshmallow on fire. That's a rookie mistake. I know it seems really cool but it will not melt the inside of the marshmallow and you will end up with a lack of consistency. You want golden brown and be sure to have the graham crackers and chocolate ready to go.
5. Don't be afraid to be homesick. Do the opposite -- feel it. Let yourself miss home. Let it get in your head and your heart just a little. I promise it won't last long and it is good for your soul.
6. Ghost stories are just that -- stories. Except for the one about the guy with the golden arm.
That one is true. Watch out for him.
7. Have more fun.
8. Be unwavering in your courage to try new things -- water skiing, archery, rifles, rock climbing, crazy camp food like tater tot casserole -- whatever they have, do it even if none of your friends do. Which reminds me...
9. Forget what the crowd is doing and be yourself. If you're tired and they aren't, go to bed. If you want to swim and they don't, swim. If you wear blue and they wear pink, keep the blue. Be selfish -- this is your time.
10. Get in trouble -- stay up past lights out, pull some pranks, sneak dessert back to the cabin. You're mature enough to know how far is too far. Trust your gut.
11. Write a couple of letters just to mom. You know I'll miss you like crazy but that you being gone is harder on her. Make sure she knows that you know. Oh, and a couple letters home is fine. Don't spend all your time writing. That's what school is for.
12. When you feel like you aren't having fun go find some.
Instagram and Vine will still be around when you're back -- promise.
13. Try and shower at least once a week. That's not really asking that much and you have such a nice shower caddy. Would be a shame to waste it.
14. I'm setting the over/under of things you lose at six. Your goal, since you probably don't know what over/under means, is to lose less than six things.
15. Did I mention have fun?
I know you will love camp because you're built for it. You're outgoing, you're kind to new people you meet and you have a passion for things that make you happy. I have no doubt you will get the most out of it.
I'm so proud of who you're becoming. Part of me wants to slow time down and the other part can't wait to see what's next.
I love you Sweets. Maybe not more than you love me, as you like to say, but a whole lot and I'm not a good enough writer to put into words just how much. So I'll steal from our boy Phillip Phillips:
You're my back bone, you're my cornerstone
You're my crutch when my legs stop moving.
You're my headstart, you're my rugged heart
You're the pulse that I've always needed.
Enjoy the time without parental rules and no little brother. You earned it.
Having fun yet?
Follow Scott Shamberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@Shamberg