One Unhappy Camper

I spent the last few days bidding most of my friends a fond farewell as they head off in different directions for the summer. Matt is off to Maine for weeks of rafting and hiking, Natalie is heading to North Carolina for acting camp and Sarah is going overseas. They are filled with excitement and anticipation about their summer adventures far from home and all I can think of is... better them than me.

It's not that I don't love an adventure. And, it sure sounds fun -- s'mores by the fire, color wars, bunk beds and bunk mates, hours spent rafting on the lake with not a worry in the world and not a parent in sight. But the reality of it all is that camp is not for everybody, and if you don't want be there, there's not a lot of fun to be found on the lake, in the bunk or even in a pitcher full of bug juice.

Last summer I went to sleepaway camp. It was all my idea. My parents supported my decision, paid for it and packed my bag. I had never been away from home before and at 13 years old, I thought I'd give it a try. Two weeks in the beautiful Northeast writing and rafting -- not a bad way to spend your summer, right?

It didn't take too long for me to figure out I didn't want to be there, or anywhere else but home. The camp obviously wasn't too keen on calling my parents, but the counselors soon realized it was in everybody's best interest if they sent me packing. So they did.

Some would argue this was the wrong move. I should have had to stay at camp, work through my feelings, suffer the consequences of my decision. Many experts even believe that going to sleepaway camp is an important part of growing up. They claim it teaches kids to be independent, helps them learn to negotiate with people and offers many opportunities and life lessons that kids don't get from staying home.

I'm sure that for the nearly six million kids in America that go to some sort of sleep-away camp that's all true. And although my stay at sleep-away camp was little more than a sleepover, I even managed to learn a couple of important life lessons.

First, camp is expensive, so make sure you want to go, and if you do, enjoy every minute of it; I've been making restitutions to my parents for nearly a year and I've still got a big bill ahead of me. And my biggest takeaway from my trip was this: I don't want, nor am I ready for my independence just yet. Some day soon I will be, but right now I'm happy to find my adventure here at home.

Peace Love Profits,