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Camping Out for Camp Registration

Waiting on line to grab a spot

OK, so I'm a full-fledged suburban mom, now. I've just done my first "camp registration."

I spent a freezing Saturday morning in my car, waiting for the Geyer Family YMCA in Montclair to open their the doors at 8 a.m., to ensure that my son would get a spot in their summer camp.

Thinking I was so prepared, I brought coffee, a yogurt and my new smartphone to play with. I got there at 7:30 a.m. What a novice! The parking lot and surrounding streets were already full of idling SUVs, filled with moms and dads keeping warm.

No one was waiting outside. I saw a few people go to the door, talk to a staff member, and return to their car. They were giving out numbers. I got number one hundred.

The staff wouldn't let us wait inside. I think they were a little worried about an unwieldy mob taking over the lounge. Instead, when eight o'clock came, they called us in, ten numbers at a time, a few minutes apart.

Another friend, also a new-to-camp-registration mom, went with her more seasoned mom friends. Since her assigned number was six, I asked what time they arrived. She sheepishly admitted that they had arrived at 5:30 a.m. I knew there would be a line, I figured I would have to wait an hour or two. 5:30 a.m.? Really? I didn't even do that for concert tickets! Well, they did get single digit numbers.

No mob scene. Everyone was very well-behaved. We lined up inside and all the smartphones came out. I had only had mine for two days, but I knew that waiting on lines like these is just what they were made for. (I tried to manage my contacts and accidentally called someone in another time zone. Thankfully, they didn't answer.)

Conversations spontaneously erupted between newbies like me and those who had been doing this for years. This teacher or that teacher is excellent; this is why we're signing up for this week or that; discussions of how first-time campers acclimate. And I heard from more than one person that this year's registration process was the smoothest and most organized they have been.

All in all, it was an easy process. I don't regret getting there at 7:30am; I was out by 9 a.m.

As I left the building, there was a table set up in the lobby, where a Girl Scout Troop was selling cookies to raise money for their summer trip. Girl Scout Cookies? What the heck? It's perfectly appropriate. After all, I just earned my "mom camp registration badge."

Beverly Meaux April 01, 2011 at 11:20 AM
I dread dealing with this every year. So the fact I haven't even figured out what to even register for makes me, hum, what? LOL!
Marcia Worth (Editor) April 01, 2011 at 11:52 AM
Very funny and familiar! I mark registration dates in my calendar weeks and months ahead, but the earliest I've arrived for registration was for me, for a community garden plot. I got it!
Jennifer Larsen April 02, 2011 at 04:46 PM
Isn't the registration process for, well, anything around here, crazy? Civil, but crazy.

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