Whenever I'm a parent, one thing I WILL do is send my kids to camp. I went to a most fabulous camp, Camp Illahee, in Brevard, NC as a camper for a total of 5 years and as a counselor for 1. My mom jokes that my 5 year pine-tree pin (given to on your 5th summer) is my most expensive piece of jewelry. [And she's probably right.]
A lot of people think parents "ship their kids off" to camp to "get rid of them" and that the kids really don't like it. Not true in 99% of cases. My first year as an Illahee girl (1994!) I went to the 2 week session, which runs concurrently with the 4 week session. When my parents came to pick me up, I was less than pleased to see them and BEGGED to stay another 2 weeks.
I could go on and on about sending your kid to summer camp is one of the best things for them, but I will try to be brief and summarize in bullet form:
- "Making it" for 4 weeks sans parents teaches you that you can be independent and successful. A huge confidence booster in and of itself and a prelude to college in some respects.
- In reference to the first bullet, camp gives you A MILLION chances to be successful. Big and small achievements don't go unnoticed, whether its cleanest cabin, passing a new swimming level, hitting a bullseye in archery, making a really cool lanyard, or just being polite kid. You will leave camp feeling like a rockstar.
- Camp gave me a chance to try a million new things I never would have done otherwise. I've kayaked down the Nantahala, rock climbed Looking Glass Rock, "swam to Dolly's" (if you swim 2 miles over the session you got to go for ice cream at Dolly's), made a bench in wordworking (which I still have), vaulted on a horse (like gymnastics on horseback), and done a back-tuck in front of the whole camp at the gymnastics show (talk about feeling like a rockstar). Sorry Mom and Dad, but I don't think you all would've taken me rock-climbing.
- You learn that getting caught in the rain is ok. You will just get wet, you will not die. Sleeping without A/C is fine. A spider may crawl in your kayak, but you will live to tell about it. Walking outside to the bathroom is not inhumane. --> Basically, you learn live in the elements and be a little tougher.
- You spend pretty much all day (and night, really) outside in the mountains. What's better than that?
- You write letters on real stationary. With stamps. No cell phones, computers, facebook, etc.
- Camp is full of awesome role models from the leadership down. Your kid will try to emulate good people.
So send your kids to camp. They will thank you for it one day. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
Speaking of stationary, Madeline sent me this awesome card:
If any of you were wondering how the little Mini 10K went down today, I'll tell you, it was HUMID. I finished around 52:21 (my pr is 49:52). I ran the first 5K in 25:30...and the 2nd in 26:40ish. Lets just say the humidity, the hills, the "only social running" lately hit me hard in the 2nd half. But, thats ok. [Ok, I'll admit, at first, I was thinking "Man! Have a maxed out in running?!?] I just reminded myself that I wasn't training for this race and it still served as good kick in the butt to start "training" again soon (coupled with copious amounts of "social running," for good measure.) So, no pr, but you know what, I got out there, I tried, and I finished. I realized there's a LOT of work to be done if I want to be as good at running as I am in my head (ie a BQ and other little "goals".) I got a medal. And I made the website with my 2 great friends:
Anyways, its 9:30 pm. I'm exhausted and going to sleep. All this talk about camp makes me feel like I should play taps or something...
Here's the chorus of "Go Gently," which inspired the title of my post. I think its a good thought to the day with, too.
Climb mountains while you may, and sing your songs,
Start living everyday; it won't be long before you turn around
and wonder where life's gone.