The Camp, a coming of age story by Charles Wesley Crouch, is now available
DENTON, TX, UNITED STATES: The Camp, by Charles Wesley Crouch, tells many inspiring stories about adventure, growing up, and building real relationships inspired by years of experiences at The Bridgeport Camp and Conference Center.
“Probably 85-90% of the events in the book actually happened in some form,” Charles said, “Many of the characters are composites of people I worked with or with parts of the events are embellished or combined. For example, I worked at the camp for 3 years, but this story takes place over only one summer. But most of the narrative is inspired by my real experiences or friendships.”
Not only is the book inspired by living and learning the Texan Methodist retreat center , but also by classes from Charles’ undergraduate education at Texas Woman’s University. “In the book I made the entire summer a camp for kids with special needs. During my undergrad, I was in the Adapted Physical Education program at TWU. I dug out some of my old textbooks to refer to for descriptions. For example, in one chapter, the characters play Goal Ball, a sport designed for people who have visually impairments. I did my research to make sure the description of how to play the game and the action of the game were as accurate as possible.”
While being set at a fun summer camp, the book also deals with some heavy issues. The main character, Marco, is going through an existential crisis after failing out of his dream college program. Another character, Lizzie, is working through the death of her father after avoiding the grief for years. Five chapters are each subtly inspired by the Kübler-Ross Five Stages of Grief. “Writing the book was a form of therapy for me.” Charles said, ”I wanted the story to be deeper than just a summer adventure, so I included tragic events that my friends or I experienced at the camp and worked through some of those issues for myself through the writing process.”
The book was intentionally written to be accessible to everyone. “The reading level might be a little advanced for some elementary-aged children, but I wrote it so that everyone could enjoy the story,” Charles said. “Most of the main characters are in college, but all of the campers are in elementary, junior high, or high school. I tried to write the characters in ways that everyone reading can hopefully find someone they relate to.”
Charles is a self-described renaissance man. He is the Chief Financial Officer of The Crouch Group, is a Personal Trainer, and teaches American Red Cross CPR classes. He lives with his dog in Denton, Texas.