Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When and where is drop-off and pick-up? Ah, this is the most frequently asked question. It's confusing because most camps run from 9am to 3pm. But not this one. Our camp runs from 9:30am to 2:30pm. I shave a half hour off the beginning and end of the day to make it easier on me. I know it's hard for some of you trying to make it to work by 9am. But I just feel like less is more here. The drop-off and pick-up spot are the same, Cafe Brauer at Lincoln Park Zoo. It's that cul-de-sac just south of the main entrance and a little north of the farm. My wife and I were to be married there before she immaculately conceived our first child. She didn't want to be a "stuffed sausage" (her words) on her wedding day so we moved the date up a couple of three months.
Q. What do these kids need to bring each day? A sack lunch. It doesn't have to be an actual sack, or paper sack, it can be whatever luggage you want to put it in. A plastic bento box. An old-tymey Herman Munster lunch pail. Whatever. They don't need to bring a lunch on Friday. That's banquet day. Some kids will bring their baseball cards. That's cool. They like to have them with them for trading at lunch. Each day the kids will get a new pack of cards for trading. What else? Sunscreen? I've got that, but please lube your child each morning before sending them in. I don't want that responsibility. Can you imagine the Communist line-up to receive sunscreen? That would take up the whole day.
Q. What will you do if it rains? Another question I get a lot. The short answer is, uh, not much. We'll keep playing through most anything. If it's a real downpour or thunder and lightning, we'll take cover at the zoo until it ends. But this show goes on rain or shine. If the forecast calls for rain, send a towel with or a change of clothes. And get the car prepped for a gnarly pick-up. I found out recently that many camps cancel if it rains. And no refunds! I don’t know how they sleep at night.
Q. Who helps you run this camp? A new question! I have an enormous staff. We boast the greatest counselor to camper ratio in Chicago. The camp is staffed with a great group of counselors that are, on average, 1.4 years older than your actual child. These counselors are not old enough to get jobs anywhere else in the city. And because they are so young, and without a union, they are paid in gum, freeze pops, and sunflower seeds. Don't feel bad for them, they seem to like it.
Q. What happens if you die or are hospitalized during the week? Great question! This is something I think about everyday between January and August. Though there is no real succession plan in place, the camp would be run by, in order:
1. My wife
2. The Vaccine Angel
3. "Lord of the Flies" scenario
In the "Lord of the Flies" scenario, the camp would be run by the alpha child that steps up and shows leadership skills and a proclivity for violence. Most likely, two groups of children would form and compete for control of the camp. Eventually, the more violent group would murder a chubby kid and put his head on the home run fence.
Around this time my wife would show up and restore order/contact the police.
Q. Your brochure mentions a trip to the beach. What day is that? That is Saturday. When the kids are no longer in my care and you can take them. My camp literature is a little outdated. When the camp was just me and 4 kids I'd take them to the beach. I really tried to keep this tradition throughout the years. But as the camp grew it became a bit of a stressor to bring 70 children to the beach. I ended up being on a cocktail of medications that helped me deal with the beach situation but made it so I could no longer drive a car or be intimate with my wife. So no more beach trips.
Q. I heard your wife is having an affair. Will that have any impact on the camp? Not at all. I haven't heard that, where did you hear that? There is a man in the neighborhood that she has coffee with but he's on a parent committee with her. That's why you see them together. Is that who you're talking about? Let's talk offline.