It's not often in life that one is given a second chance. But for those kids at sleepaway camp for the summer, a second chance awaits in the form of Second Session. It is not just the second half of the summer; it is a second chance at everything, for better or for worse. A chance to take advantage of new opportunities or to take advantage of new campers. A chance to debunk rumors or to debunk your annoying bunkbed mate.

Every summer a debate rages as to whether Second Session was better than First Session. (The only camp debate more hotly contested is which team actually deserved to win "Best Song" during Color War.) Typically, those who attend only First Session insist that it reigned supreme, whereas those who attend only Second Session declare it the victor. Of course, their respective opinions mean about as much as the opinion of someone who has seen only the first Rocky movie and then stubbornly declares it the undisputed best Rocky movie of all time. (BTW: If your favorite Rocky movie is anything other than Rocky 1, 2 or 3, then you don't deserve to have an opinion.)

Obviously, those who attend both First and Second Session have the most credibility as to which session was best, but consensus even among such full-summer campers can be hard to find.

All that said, here are some telltale signs that Second Session is not nearly as good as First Session:

  1. Your division head declares that there are now mandatory intramural "Clean-Up Time" leagues.

  2. Despite your well-documented fear of even the slightest heights, you have been elevated to a ladder-less top bunk.

  3. The camp calendar for Second Session shows 18 trip days to Walmart.

  4. The camp has scheduled a "Reverse Visiting Day" on which all campers are sent home to visit their parents.

  5. Even the local bears in the nearby forest, who will eat just about anything, think that the camp food stinks.

  6. The camp director has announced that since some campers did not attend First Session, the Nine Days will be observed for a second time during Second Session.

  7. The art staff creates a Vincent Van Gogh-cart derby during which campers paint while riding in go-carts and then cut off an ear (a prosthetic ear, of course).

  8. The infirmary issues a warning that there has been a breakout of small-pox as well as midsized and large pox.

  9. Color War has been cancelled and replaced with a mandatory Ring-Around-the-Rosie competition.

  10. Every single night, the camp's senior staff members conduct an unbearably annoying camp-wide "positivity" raid filled with songs, words of encouragement and happy haiku.

  11. Inter-camps are cancelled and replaced with a demoralizing game of "Guess Why All of the Other Camps Refuse to Associate with Our Camp?"

  12. The USEPA has declared your camp a Superfund Site.

  13. The camp implements a new phone policy under which every camper is allowed to call home every night . . . for $150 per call.

  14. The camp has replaced all staff golf carts with rickshaws and wheelbarrows.

  15. The camp has removed all of the nets from the tennis courts and instead is encouraging tennis players to simply use their imaginations.

  16. Everyone on swim staff wears a t-shirt that reads: "Please Don't Drown. It Will Ruin Summer."

  17. In the dining hall, the camp has turned the all-you-can-eat buffet into the all-you-can-stomach buffet.

  18. The term "CIT" now means Counselor in Trouble.

  19. For all staff members, the "Day Off" has been replaced with the "Afternoon Off."

  20. The camp's security guards have been instructed that the biggest security threats are the campers.

  21. The local residents start referring to the camp as "Camp Nightmare."

  22. For reasons unknown, the camp uses the floor hockey rink as a sanctuary for troubled ponies and disturbed turtles.

  23. For fun, the camp uses the rock climbing wall to dry the laundry and then forces campers to climb for their clothing.

  24. The new camp motto is "It's Almost Over."

  25. Instead of live-streaming all major camp events, the camp only live-streams the buses leaving on the last day.

Final thought: Did you hear about the camp that suddenly shut down and changed locations? In more ways than one, it decamped.