Camp

( 51 )

Overview

Over the years, as a camper and a counselor, Disney CEO Michael Eisner absorbed the life lessons that come from sitting in the stern of a canoe or meeting around a campfire at night. With anecdotes from his time spent at Keewaydin and stories from his life in the upper echelons of American business that illustrate the camp's continued influence, Eisner creates a touching and insightful portrait of his own coming-of-age, as well as a resounding declaration of summer camp as an ...

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Camp

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Overview

Over the years, as a camper and a counselor, Disney CEO Michael Eisner absorbed the life lessons that come from sitting in the stern of a canoe or meeting around a campfire at night. With anecdotes from his time spent at Keewaydin and stories from his life in the upper echelons of American business that illustrate the camp's continued influence, Eisner creates a touching and insightful portrait of his own coming-of-age, as well as a resounding declaration of summer camp as an invaluable national institution.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A valentine to summer camp from recently deposed Disney CEO Eisner, who makes it clear why the camp reverberates for him to this very day. Camp Keewaydin sits snuggly by a lake in mid-Vermont. It's a venerable camp of the old school, keeping one eye on character building and emotional growth-with lots of challenges, from arts to sports to long camping trips-and the other on planned freedom, offering the camper a fistful of opportunities to get busy or lay back. It isn't a tony establishment, but a rough and ready one, a place where you'll glean a few experiences that will benefit you later in life ("risk is good, but survival is better") or, as Eisner says, not without a hint of distaste, that will allow you to endure "Hollywood antics and boardroom politics." The story he tells is a braided and generous one, of his own growth at the camp from ages 8 to 22, a span that brought many firsts-being away from home, pulling his own weight, learning the importance of tradition, taking on responsibilities he knew would test his abilities. It's the story also of two boys Eisner later sponsored at the camp, Pepe and Q, from down-if-not-out Los Angeles. The two bring a very different quality to the camp than the regulars do. Their stories are interesting if not compelling-maybe because Eisner didn't see the events when they happened but had an operative observe them and report back. But Eisner's own recollections are smart and immediate: remembering the camp's surroundings, the tents and halls and playing fields, the bite of not winning awards, his clowning as a staffman, finding himself once in charge of a bloodied camper miles from nowhere, or remembering the sachem qualities of the camp'slong-time director. A well-told story of the raw ingredients of growing up, free of bluster but full of brio. (Eight-page photo insert, not seen)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446533690
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 379,061
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Camp


By Michael D. Eisner

Warner Books

Copyright © 2005 The Eisner Foundation, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-53369-6


Chapter One

It was the summer of 1949, and I was seven. Some forty miles north of New York City, my family had a summer home on sixty acres, "in the back" (as we called it) of my grandfather's gentleman's farm. I was attending a day camp, Camp Mohawk, to do what kids in Bedford Hills and Mount Kisco and Chappaqua and Armonk and White Plains did when their parents wanted every minute accounted for during the summer. I had been at Mohawk just one week, already the survivor of a lost baseball mitt and my sister's throwing up in the bus, when the subject of overnight camp came up.

We were sitting at dinner on the screened porch of the house when the voice of God (God was my father) said, "I thought I'd take you up to Camp Keewaydin to see if you might want to go there next summer."

I was excited and paralyzed. As far as I can now remember, I had never gone on an overnight trip with my father alone, without a sister or mother. He was a father I called by his first name, Lester. Yes, he was my real father, and no, I cannot imagine why he liked that. They said it was because my sister couldn't say "Daddy," but I doubt it. For much of the first three years of my life, he had been flying planes in the "war" (World War II), and, since then, had remained the man who inspired enduring respect, love, admiration, envy, and fear, and all that was fatherhood to me.

My father was a man of adventure. After the war, he had started an airline in Ecuador that he scraped together from two army air force planes. Flying to South America with your father as the pilot was certainly an adventure. But then he had settled down as a lawyer in the world of New York City. Surely everyone thinks their father is unique, and at a young age, the impression I had of my father was no different. He was athletic, a bold entrepreneur, clever humorist, attentive husband, matinee idol to my sister's friends and simply bigger than life to my friends. The women loved him, and children were awed by him. As a seven-year-old, I saw all this, and was at once respectful and impressed and mesmerized and sometimes daunted by his power.

The prospect of sleepaway camp was a family tradition that he would not let drop. So, we were scheduled to do this "father-son" thing and go off for the weekend to Keewaydin, a summer camp that my father and uncles had attended. I sat at the dinner table contemplating the many hours in the car where I'd be alone with my father, wondering about the camp in the middle of nowhere, amid millions and millions of acres of woods, billions and billions of miles from Bedford Hills, without a sister or mother in sight. Memories of the trip up are hazy. I'm sure my father explained to me that this was a great camp, and shared some of the happy memories he had of going up to Vermont each summer. We headed in our Buick toward New England. We probably drove up Route 7 in Vermont until we passed Brandon, then made a right toward Salisbury and drove onward on Route 53 to Keewaydin. I do remember that it was dark when we arrived, and I was nervous. Placed inside a sleeping bag, I slept on a cot, within some sort of dark enclosure, and I fell asleep wondering what it looked like outside. My father had disappeared.

The next morning, a loud alien gong noise greeted me with the morning light. I found myself in a tent with wooden floors, surrounded by boys my own age, who were getting out of their beds, looking at me with the persistent, perplexing glare that boys are prone to adopt toward a stranger. I stared back with a matching glare of my own, though Mother Nature soon took over, and a critical question flooded my mind: Where's the bathroom? I was painfully in need of one; somehow, bathroom emergencies at seven are at least doubly more painful than most men remember. I stumbled out of bed and followed the scattering of boys scurrying away to a community john that was two dirt basketball courts away, and then followed the crowd to the dining hall, seemingly half a mile down some kind of path. A staffman discovered me wandering and connected me with my father, a lone familiar face among hundreds.

I was introduced to several adults, most notably someone called Waboos (or at least it was pronounced that way-WAH-boos). His importance was underscored not only by his unique name but by the fact that nearly every youngster and adult who walked by made a point of saying, "Good morning, Waboos," a greeting he returned. Among all the old folks whom I was introduced to, Waboos was clearly the featured attraction, and, furthermore, he called my father "Les." I never had heard that. Everybody called him by his full name, Lester. I knew this was a special relationship. This was someone from my father's past.

The rest of the day was peppered with activity. I was shipped back to the group of kids with whom I had spent the night. I folded my sleeping bag while everybody else made their beds. I washed my face and brushed my teeth alongside twenty other boys also brushing away, quite a change from sharing a bathroom with just one sister.

I played, I swam, I rested, then played and swam again with the boys for the rest of the day. I didn't see my father again until dinner, when I spotted him huddled with Waboos, talking, as the two of them looked over at me. Maybe I had embarrassed my father. Maybe I had offended the other kids. Something was off-I knew it. Waboos approached me.

"Do you want to box tonight?" he asked. I heard myself say, "Sure," not having any idea what he was talking about. It turned out that I was headed to the weekly Saturday-evening wrestling and boxing show at Sunset Arena, the old ring beyond right-center field on one of the Keewaydin ball fields. Each age group of campers (wigwams, I was learning to call them) presented four events-two wrestling, two boxing. The more I learned, the more I hoped my mother would somehow appear to get me out of all of it. Suddenly, this father-son thing definitely wasn't working.

The youngest kid at the camp was eight; I was seven. The opponent that I was picked to fight had been in camp from day one, was totally confident, and I'm sure later went on to be a successful fullback in the NFL. He, in fact, was nine, and here on my first full day at Keewaydin, I was matched up against him, in the ring, mano a mano.

The fight that night lasted about two minutes. I didn't cry, I didn't take a dive. Even though the oversized gloves were like pillows, I had the stuffing and pride beaten out of me-not necessarily in that order. After what I'm sure was some encouragement bestowed upon me by Waboos and my father, we left the camp for the drive back to Bedford Hills.

I slept the whole way home. I only opened my eyes as my father carried me upstairs to my real bed. I woke up as he tripped slightly on the stairs; my mother was right behind us.

"You should have seen how brave he was," I heard my father saying to my mother. "He was a stand-up boy."

"Isn't Waboos a great guy?" he said to me, curled up in his arms. "Don't you want to go to Keewaydin next summer?"

"Yeah," I mumbled, and fell back to sleep before we made it to my bed.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Camp by Michael D. Eisner Copyright © 2005 by The Eisner Foundation, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 51 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(40)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 51 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Quick & easy read, but not resonating with this camper/counselor

    As an 11-year veteran of an all-girls' YMCA Camp, I was excited to read this book and really connect with the camp experiece. Perhaps the camp experience is too individual & personal, but this book didn't exactly do it for me. Eisner tries to connect his own "legacy" experience to that of a "scholarship" camper... but it falls flat. It is a quick read, but not very sophisticated. I found the writing to lack depth in terms of really unearthing what the camping experience is about.

    I would have loved an inclusion of camp letters, or something more personal that speaks volumes to what it is like to leave home and stay overnight at a camp all summer! Oh, but wait, Eisner's "trip"-focused camp has the counselors (instead of the campers) writing letters home to the parents (am I the only one that finds this odd?). Perhaps camp just can't be distilled or explained well to those who don't experience it.

    Waboos is a wonderful character in the book. The interactions between the campers seems to get a bit lost.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An amazing testimonial to summer camps and how it changes the lives of those who attend

    This book examined the institution of sumer camps and how no where else can a person learn the morals and build the character like a person can at camp. To anyone who grew up attending camp summer after summer fro weeks on end and absolutely loving every single minute of it, this is for you. It helped me realize why I LOVE my camp so much. It's where I grew up and where I found me. Michael Eisner hit the nail on the head and now whenever someone asks me why camp is such a hug part of who I am, I'll just hand them this amazing book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2014

    &heart &heart

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2014

    &heart &hearts

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    Abby to liz

    Umm your attending a princess academy cool were is it?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    Anna

    Stupid bein locked out...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2014

    Sariah

    I left like four days ago lol. And im not mad at u anymore. Slides in the bench across from percy

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2014

    Holland

    Smiles at saraih. Hi im Holz.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2014

    Nico

    Where is the hades cabin

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    Liz

    Walks to main res

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    LUNCH HALL

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    May i join

    I want to join a clan every other clan has rejected me i am a dark grey shecat with blu eyes my name is violetkit

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    Lightning

    Walked in and sat down

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    Kelly

    *shrugs* ask him if he knows a kelly

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    May i join?

    Hello my name is Willowfur. A sleek cream colored cat meowed. Her soft sea blue eyes shining bright. I am also looking for a mate. Willowfur

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    May i join

    My name is Fatalgrin. I am a silvery grey with black strips across my tail. I hae dark blue yes and am a she-cat.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    Em

    Bye

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    The story of Snowkit by Mistycat

    As she walks closer and closer to her new clan, she is violently stopped. She is pinned to the ground, and tries to call for help a couple of times, until she is agian violently scractched on her mouth. The attacker quickly injures and paralyzed the kit. He brings her back to his own clan, to show of the paralyzed kit. He buries her in the center of the land. The next day he returns to the clan and offers them an unfair deal. " You surrender and let us take over your clan, we will give you your stupid ball of nothing." Clan wllingly agrees to the deal, not noing he is lying his tongue of to them. Next 6 years went by, when they finaly get the news their kit was paralyzed and buried and died soon after. Then finally relized this was a set-up. {Mistycat

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    May i join as warrior

    My name is lovebreeze a she cat who wants to have a mate and kits.plz can a join and have kits with a tom.psim active

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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