This year I sent my children to a real outdoor summer camp. No overnights – they’re not quite ready for that just yet… or maybe I’m just not ready to let them go. I spent last winter diligently researching summer camps. Once my selection was made I saved every nickel and dime I could to ensure their summer would be a blast.
Summer camp is suppose to be a young person’s first true taste of independence and personal responsibility, putting to test the social and problem-solving skills he or she has been taught at home and at school.
I chose a camp circiculum that would benefit each of my children, giving them exposure to outdoor adventure, team building exercises, personal development, arts and crafts, not to mention a whole bunch of swimming. Their summer camp offers physical challenges, providing them with an environment in which their problem-solving and teamwork skills are truly put to the test. So, for them, what comes across as merely a fun, physical challenge is in fact a test offering valuable life skills, providing them with leadership and teamwork skills that will help in any social or work environment.
My kiddos come home everyday talking about all their activities. What’s even more exciting is that they are doing activities like archery, harvesting their own garden, learning to make a living structure in the woods, what to do if your kayak flips over, visiting the horses in the barn, hiking, ropes, obsatcle course, and playing all the old traditional camp games and singing songs. They are all designed to teach the three P’s – Patience, Persistence and Perseverance.
Mom’s and Dad’s don’t take it personally – when you go to pick up your children from summer camp, they may prefer to stick around and enjoy the company of their peers. I learned that my first week. The kids did not want me picking them up until closing circle was done. Oh, and yes, I can never be late for opening circle in the morning either. And Friday’s are the most sacred… it’s awards day. Every kid at the camp prays that their name is called for a special award. I think summer camp is synonymous with the personal maturation process, and allowing our children to see that life can be a blast, even when presented with many challenges. Perhaps the greatest benefit of sending my children to summer camp has to do with me letting my children begin to enjoy more of their freedom.
In the end, summer camp was not only an experience for my children, but for myself as well. I felt that I have let of part of my children go… not in a bad way, but in a way that allowed them to grow up and become the wonderful human beings they are. And because of that I grew up a little myself.
I’m already looking forward to next summer!