I’ve seen this idea references on TV, in the movies, in the comics (Charlie Brown goes to summer camp religiously every summer). When summer comes and mom decides she doesn’t want her kids in her hair for eight hours a day, she sends them to summer camp. The camps are always given a vaguely Native American-sounding name such as camp Wa-ha-ton-ka or something.
I, personally, have no frame of reference for this. I grew up in a somewhat urban environment (Springfield, IL, pop: 110,000 and some change) with a working mom. When I was too young to stay at home by myself during the summers, MammaHomie sent me to a local day care center that had a summer program for school-age kids. We went roller skating, went to local parks, went to the lake for swimming, etc. We went home every day when our parents picked us up after they got off work. However, I never attended anything that could be considered “camp.” Home base for the daycare was right there on a city street, and we went home every day.
So, back in The Day (say, 50’s and 60’s), did moms really send their kids away for long periods of time to overnight camps? Or is this “summer camp” thing just a metaphor for summer day care programs (such as what I attended)? Or is it simply a comic device fabricated out of thin air?