I admit, before I had kids, my thoughts about parenting and raising kids was set in stone. It is always easier to think your way would be better than others. Then reality hits and you actually have kids and things are not how you imagined it would be.
Recently, my two oldest sons spent a week at summer camp. I highly encouraged, ok ok, made them go… since they had no inclination to go themselves. Eric and I talked about the wonderful experience and how much fun they would have and the friends they would make while at camp. Eric and I both had the opportunity to go to summer camp when we were younger and talked about what we did and how we would go back if we could. Of course, they still dragged their feet and feigned sickness as the day came closer. And when the time came to drop them off, I was sad because the drop off was so “sudden.” No chance to walk around the camp, to see their cabins where they would be sleeping, the cafeteria, where they would be eating or the beach where they would be swimming. I didn’t have the opportunity to give them a hug. Eric hurriedly ushered me awaits saying “I didn’t want the camp staff thinking I was “that mom.”
When we picked up the boys, they talked about how much fun they had. They were able to go swimming, canoeing, played games and they even said how much they liked singing camp songs! My boys said the food was good and was impressed by showers where pull down ropes made the water come out. They both spoke about the friends they made.
The oldest had the chance to go canoeing and then spend the night in the woods in tents. He talked about how gross the boy’s outhouse was so they all used the girl’s outhouse.
The conversations and shared experiences did not end there. The boys sang the camp songs to their siblings and talked about their counselors and recited all their names.
The best part; they admitted they want to go back next year.
(Yes! right decision made by Eric and myself!)
As they talked, I thought about how wrong I was thinking parents were selfish for sending their kids to summer camp. With kids of my own, and having to work during their summer vacation, I realize summer camp is not only a time for kids to have fun, make new friends and enjoy new experiences. Summer camp is an opportunity for parents to work. Not every parent has the luxury being able to take their summer off to spend with their kids. Parents have to find alternatives to school, and childcare has to be made so parents can work and pay the bills. Summer camp gives parents a sense of peace of mind knowing their kids are safe and having fun.
My eyes have opened now and I offer a heartfelt apology to all those parents I judged before I actually had to walk in your shoes. Summer camp is a great chance for kids to have fun and experience summer like a kid.
If you get the chance to send your kids to camp, please do.
Your kids will thank you for the memories.
By : Kristine Walton
Wife/Mother of 5/Registered Nurse
Contact Kristine @kd_2426@Hotmail.com
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