always believed there are only two kinds of American and Canadian women:
those who gave camp a try for a summer or two but refused to ever go
back and those of us who never stopped cherishing those summers and
who only ceased going because of a double-digit birthday beginning with
a three, or marriage or our parents suggesting that "maybe it's
time you had a real job, with a real income."
Encapsulated in a cocoon of friendship, we were happy, secure and at
home with our summer family. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,
camp held the complete direction of our lives. The chance to become
aware of the earth's beauty, to learn the value of making friends, to
feel the excitement of unfamiliar things and to find the courage to
try new adventures were all a part of the camp experience. More importantly,
it was often the only place, geographically and emotionally,
where we truly felt at home, in touch with our authentic selves.
My intention with SLEEPAWAY is to capture the deep and enduring
impact of girls' summer camp and the unique role it played in our growing
up and shaping who we are today. For those other ten months, we carried
inside us that part of ourselves we'd gotten from our camp experience.
Our culture so heavily emphasizes the individual, and individual achievement,
that there's little sense of how essential these connections are and
the notion of "girl culture" has been somewhat ignored. The
revelation that there could be profound meaning and repercussions from
a single-sex environment (especially in a non-academic setting) is unavoidable
SLEEPAWAY is a photographic journal that recognizes
how the sanctuary of an all-girls camp was critical to creating a place
where "girls could be girls", unequivocally ourselves
and our sense of community, success and belonging could be savored for
the rest of the year. The photographs are complemented by the voices
of hundreds of women who attended camp as early as 1926 and as recently
as last summer.