TheZone and the Case of the XL Camel Sweatshirt

Volunteer in camel costume greets children opening day TheZone 2023

TheZone is a magical place—maybe that’s why our campers look for creative ways to make memories of the summer, last forever. It’s also the reason we have a retreat that begins the day after camp. Our “Zoniacs” hate to leave, so we ease the way with one more special weekend event. Anyone can sign up for the retreat, and a lot of our campers do exactly that.

Now, like all of our counselors, Esther Smith is a volunteer. Smith elected to stay and help out with the retreat. By now, she was well-acquainted with the kids who had attended camp and happened to notice that one of the campers was wearing something, well, a bit odd. But let’s let Esther tell the story:

“It was the day after camp, when I saw a junior camper, who must have been around 9 years’ old wearing a size extra-large camel sweatshirt,” said Smith.

volunteer in giant camel costume high fives camper TheZone 2023

Camels at TheZone

Here we must point out that camels are kind of a big deal at TheZone. We actually have camels roaming our campgrounds. They are very friendly, and the campers love to pet and socialize with them. As camels are such an important part of what makes our summer camp unique, we decided to put one on our logo for TheZone. Also, we make camel hats, sweatshirts, socks, and other popular camel items available to our campers

Therefore, it was no big deal to see a Zoniac in a camel sweatshirt. The thing that was odd about it was the size. “It looked like a dress on her!” said Smith.

“When I asked if she took that one because they didn’t have any left in her size, the girl said, ‘They did, but I asked for this one.’

camel opening day TheZone 2023

Smiles, Care, Friendship, and Love

Surprised and yes, curious, Esther asked the girl why she chose that one specifically. “She told me she asked for the extra-large so she’d have a camel sweatshirt that not only fit her now, but one that will fit her when she grows up,” said Esther, “so that she can always remember the smiles, care, friendship, and love she got at TheZone.

“Well actually, those were my words, but it’s what I got out of her when she started reminiscing about the whole summer,” clarified our volunteer.

TheZone is such an exceptional experience that, at least this camper—the one with the humongous camel sweatshirt—wants to make sure she will always retain the memory of a certain remarkable summer, even once she grows to become the parent of a young Zoniac, herself.



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