Mom & Dad never had any money, but somehow
for 3 years they managed to save up enough for me to go to summer camp for 2
weeks each year. It was Camp La Salette in Ipswich , Massachusetts.
Being a camp of the Polish Catholic Church, it was run by future priests, who we called "brothers".
The main incentive was to accumulate 'stars' for activities you participated in. Archery, Riflery, Basketball, Boxing, Softball, Overnight camping and a 7th one that I've forgotten.
Being my 3rd year going there for my 2 week stint, it was the the only time I participated and earned all 7 stars. (this face was too cute to be in a boxing ring) But I endured it.
The Brothers used the stars as disciplinary tools. - say you got caught doing something bad, the brother could take a star away.. but you could earn it back before your parents visited on the next Sunday.
I was going for my final 7th star on an overnight hike and camping star quest with the son of Frankie Fontaine, a Boston TV icon at the time. (Frank played 'Crazy Guggenheim' on the Jackie Gleason Show). So, (I forget his first name) Fontaines kid and I decided we were too cool for sleeping with mosquitoes, so after we reached our camp with the rest of the pack, we decided to take off for a while.
Well, that kind of pissed off the brothers, (missing 2 kids and all) so when we were found (IE CAUGHT) we were marched back to the barracks, (the camp was actually a retired Army facility) and confined to our bunks until the "big" brother could address us the next day (the Sunday morning we would be proudly displaying our perfect 7 stars to our parents)
Well "big" was really really mad that Sunday morning. [I just remembered the 7th star was alter Boy] And as he was pounding his fist and yelling, all we heard was NO STARS! [a lot like 'no soup for you']
We were heartbroken! Embarrassed! What would our parents think!?!
All day I glanced at the Stars board, but my stars remained. When my Mom and Dad showed up, I steered them away from the stars board all day. [but the stars remained]. Mom and Dad were proud of my 7 stars [couldn't keep them away] and concerned I didn't have anything to accomplish during my final week, so Dad went to the beach wagon and came back with a couple of models . I remember they were 1/32nd with multi piece bodies [one had a decal that said "23 skidoo" ]
Later that night, models finished already, I looked at the stars board... they were gone. Which pretty much meant I had 6 days to repopulate them before Mom & Dad came to pick me up. I only got 6 back... That boxing thing... uh.. once was enough.
Mom and Dad never found out about the stars thing, or how I took off in the middle of the night. Nowadays that would sound a missing child national alert. But back then....