Illustration by Katherine Streeter

Like most summer camps, Sloane Crosley’s had its share of mix-and-match rituals, from early morning prayers to evening flag-foldings and late night bonfires. Some were meant to evoke Native American tradition, while others could be best described as patriotic, paganistic, or simply bizarre. It took a while for Crosley to realize the dominant stream in this cultural and ideological mishmash was actually Christianity.

Adapted from her new essay collection, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, Crosley’s story looks back at the summer she began to question the camp’s underlying faith—and her own.

Illustration by Katherine Streeter.