My daughter went to sleepaway camp for the first time this summer. I have to admit that when I heard way back in the 5th grade that there families sending their kids to sleepaway camp for 8 weeks, I was shocked. “What kind of horrible parents are these?” and “how is this a thing?” was went through my mind. Fast forward to this summer. My daughter had nothing to do this summer – no basketball camp, to old for day camp. I could not let her sit around for the entire summer wandering the streets of New York City or play on her phone all day. No Way!
A few months ago, two other parents and I were discussing summer plans and it was suggested we send our kids to sleepaway camp. Fantastic idea as a suburban raised kid, I had the entire outdoors to play and had access to my neighborhood pool, tennis and basketball courts and walking trails. My daughter is a city raised kid being outdoors is a good thing in my opinion.
Of course, my daughter was adamant and said “No.” After much convincing she agreed to go because her two buddies were going. It wasn’t until a few weeks before she was supposed to leave that she actually checked out the website to find out the activities when started she getting excited.
All of this, I knew in advance. My daughter loves the water. When she went to day camp, all the other kids complained about the sun heated pools which were usually cold but my daughter never complained all she cared about was being in the water. I knew if she just went swimming every day, she would be happy.
Then she found out that she could learn horseback riding and be able to play her guitar. And all was right in the world.
It’s been three weeks since we dropped her off and I was a bit worried at first because all the girls in her bunk knew each other from having gone to camp together for years. But I have received a couple of postcards/letters telling me she is having a good time. She took horse back riding lessons and loved it. She wants to continue when she gets back (win #1.) And bigger news, she played her guitar in front of the entire camp (win #2) She has been playing the guitar in our apartment with the guitar teacher for years but never in front of people.
Today she comes back and I am really excited to see her and hear all about her experience but I am sad that my freedom is now over. Just being honest!
P.S. It is my goal to send her away for the entire summer next year because one it’s the last year she can go given her age and it’s also counselor in training so she can actually work at the camp when she is older (a summer job, right on!)