Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Song Detective: The Case of "I Want to Camp Until I'm 73"

As I post about the scores of songs I learned at Camp Ajawah in Minnesota, I dig around to see what I can find about the origins of each tune.  For most, there is ample information online.  Some are old folk songs; others are copyrighted and the composer is readily found; and others fall in between.

Once in a while I will find next to nothing about a particular song.  The most recent example is a very short tune whose lyrics in their entirety consist of:

I want to camp until I'm 73
For camping life is really great
I must avoid the marriage state
So Cupid keep your darts away from me
Until I'm 30, 40, 50, 60, 73.

Other than links to Camp Ajawah and this blog, all I've found are a few other random camps where a variation of "I Want to Camp" is sung.

A Girl Scout camp in Massachusetts (though to a different tune: Battle Hymn of the Republic)
Another Girl Scout camp (in Wisconsin)
Lincoln, NE YMCA songbook

And that's it.  No videos, no sheet music, no clue as to when or where it originated, or who wrote it.  Is it only known in a handful of camps, and, if so, who was the thread who connected MN, WI, NE and MA?

I tried searching fragments of the lyrics to see if it's related to some other, better known song, but I came up empty handed.  On my summer camp songs facebook page, I asked if anyone had any knowledge about the song.  Nada.

Sherlock is stumped.  I turn to you, my friends, to ask for any clues.  Let's solve this riddle!