I've been the son of a Deseret News columnist for a year now. Sure, I love her column, even though, to tell you the truth, I don't read it much - usually I scan it for the word "Zack" - but just being mentioned as "my son" is good enough for me.

My mom has a lot of great ideas, and I would love to be in her place. And now I am! Here I am, Zack Rouda, a.k.a. Son of Andrea, writing a column for myself. Actually, I'm filling in for my mom. She's too busy crying to write anything, since I'm leaving for summer camp in a couple of days.How do I feel about going away for half the summer? I love it. I've been interviewing people left and right, just about anyone who has ever been away to camp. They all said it was great and that they dreaded leaving at the end of the summer.

But my parents are a different story. They've been getting frantic; in fact my dad gets pretty choked up every time someone mentions the subject, and my mom walks around saying things like, "My baby, my baby, what happened to my baby?" (I guess that's me.) Heck, how come in all of R.L. Stine's books about kids who go away to camp, their parents don't carry on like this? The worst they have to suffer through is getting eaten by monsters or attacked by alien invaders.

I know I'm going to miss everyone - my family and friends - but there are mailboxes. I'll just take out a pencil and a piece of paper and scribble away. What I'll really miss most of all is my computer. Just think - five weeks without America Online! Five weeks without Microsoft Word! I hope I make it. . ..gosh, I'm going to feel like an Amish farmer out there. The teary goodbyes will be bad, but leaving old Vivitron15 is going to really hurt.

We already sent off my camp gear and clothes ahead of time, so I'll feel all nice and cozy when I get there (I hope). My parents will fly out with me, but then I won't see them for a month, until they come on Visiting Day. Then I'll show them around, give them a tour of the camp, and introduce my new friends, if I have any!

It's going to be great: playing sports, hiking, sleeping way out in the wilderness (actually I'll be sleeping in a cabin, but "the wilderness" has a better effect), eating hot dogs and grilling burgers. I'll be doing some pretty intensive sports: swimming, tennis, water-skiing, and lacrosse. Actually I'm getting a little nervous about lacrosse, because from the look of those pads I'll need to wear, it might be a little too rough for me. (My mom said not to worry, since she's going to check in with all the hospitals in Maine on a daily basis.)

I'll make lots of new friends, and that'll be cool. We can exchange phone numbers and e-mail addresses. By the way, mine is KrazyKyng@aol.com for all you fans out there!

I'm looking forward to finally getting a Big Brother, too. The best part is, he's only temporary. He'll help me make friends and get settled, stuff like that. As a kid in the camp video said about his Big Brother, "He gave me pizza. He really cared, you know?" (But if I get my head pulled off by an outraged lacrosse opponent, pizza isn't really going to help me much, is it?)

The one thing I'm not looking forward to is getting up at 7:45 in the morning; 7:45 for crying out loud!! During fifth grade, I hardly got up 10 minutes before the bell rang at 8:30. Now I'll have to jump up at the sound of that annoying, BLARING HORN they use in the army, and they'll expect me to last through the day. The nerve of some people!

I also heard something about having to make my own bed every day, but I'm hoping it's just a rumor.