The excerpt below is from a new Philly mag story by Don Steinberg, about a week he spent at a sleepaway summer camp in the Philadelphia suburbs, in search of the evocative “camp smell” that he remembers from his youth. I love this story; it’s so well-observed and unpretentious and lovely:

…I continued my informal hunt for evocative smells. I toured a boys’ bunk, Oklahoma (all the bunks are named after colleges), and it was familiar: the metal-frame bunk beds, clothes hanging on rafters, toiletries fighting for space. But it did nothing for me smell-wise. Campers don’t even bring trunks anymore. Now it’s backpacks, soft duffels. A lot at camp is softer now. They still do bunk inspections at Kweebec, but they don’t require hospital corners on sheets. They don’t play “Reveille” in the morning. “It startles the kids too much,” Rachel Weiser Weisman told me. “We wake up the kids by flipping on the lights and sort of saying ‘Good morning!’”

Horseplay in general is down. Being responsible for children these days has become a high-wire act. You can’t endanger kids, you can’t discipline them, you can’t get too close. I asked Les, whom campers call Uncle Les, about navigating the modern territory. “The question comes up: How do you hug a kid?” he says. The answer at today’s camp is this: “You hug from the side.”