in the summer camp programs at McCambridge, Verdugo and Robert Gross
parks are ripe for the taking. Unfortunately, the enrollment spaces are
few, so the demand for them is great. Hence, registration officially
began around 11 a.m. the day before, when the first group of squatters
carried their couch and television up the sidewalk and parked their
posterior on a comfy cushion, initiating the time-honored vigil of
My wife was the one responsible for adding "day camp" to my son's
vocabulary. Three years ago, she met a friend around 5 a.m. on
registration morning, hoping to enroll him in the majority of sessions,
but was shut out of three weeks of camp (enrollment is 60 children per
session). Two years ago, she came an hour earlier (yeah, right) thinking
she'd jump the gun, and still didn't get all the weeks she wanted.
Thenl, last year, she breathed deeply, grabbed her down jacket and
showed up at 2 a.m. (again, what's she thinking?) and missed the
ever-popular Disneyland venue. That, along with the fact my son had to
endure a week at Robert Gross Park ("But they don't have a pool!"),
brought her to the realization that the only way to beat the odds and
procure those precious weeks was to beat the other campers at their own
Thus came those immortal words, "Honey, this year we're camping out."
Words to live by when living in Burbank.
The game plan was simple: She'd grab a book, a folding chair and
meander over to the park around 6 p.m to get an early spot. Wrong. I got
a panic call from her cell phone at 3 p.m. "You would not believe the
size of that line. It's down the street."
Frantic, she beelined down to Izay Park, where she took her place on
the sidewalk in a spot not more than a few feet away from the spot she
took last year at 2 a.m. Timing is everything. Unless, that is, you're
the guys with that couch and TV who had the bright idea of upping the
jeopardy level and arriving before the dawn of time.
I arrived with the tent at 8 p.m. A fellow in a pickup ranted and