Sleepaway Camp

After endless Facebook photos of packed trunks and tearful goodbyes, everyone's kids have finally gone off to summer camp. And I admit that sometimes, when I think about all the fun they'll be having, I get a little jealous.
Fourth of July weekend has now come and gone, which means the kids have officially been away at camp for a over week. You should know this even if you don't send your own kids off to sleepaway for the summer, because over on Facebook, the entire process of getting ready for the big send off was meticulously documented by every single person you've ever met.
Last week, I sent my boys off to sleepaway camp, together, for the first time. The people I have bumped into have asked me, "So? How does it feel to have both your kids gone for the first time?" My answer? "On a scale of 1-10... 1,000,000!"
Sleepaway camp can offer incredible growth opportunities for children--they can gain independence and self-confidence, adjust to new, real-life situations, experience new environments and activities, and make new friends.
While impatiently waiting for the promised reunion of the fine counselors and campers of "Wet Hot American Summer," we got
Sleepaway camp can be a rite of passage, and the decision to send your child away is a big one. The first summer, (and the preceding months) is especially big. Kids learn responsibility without a parent rushing to solve every crisis.
The summer I turned 16 I got a job working as a mother's helper in a sleep-away camp upstate New York. I somehow convinced the parents to get the camp to hire my boyfriend as a counselor. I was very much in love at 16 and spent all my time with him. He was a bit possessive but I told myself, 'That's cause he loves me so much.' He was captain of the football team, I was a cheerleader, it was perfect.
The atmosphere can be simultaneously congenial and competitive, intimate and exclusionary. In a space the size of typical two-car garage, a variety of personality types are thrust together, forced to navigate an often-complicated jumble of events and emotions. And, if you were like I was years ago, you loved it.
Start by taking all of their electronics and tech items. If they want to text a friend, they'll have to write a letter. They'll complain a little, but deep down, they love to be disconnected.
Sure, there's the Full Moon party in Koh Phangan, Yacht Week in Croatia, desert dancing at Burning Man, and the allure of Ibiza, but there is nothing like the simplicity of camp.
As many children head back-to-school, how can we continue to nurture self-confidence, independence and grit from the home front?
Please explain to me why I would pay someone to tell me that I cannot call or speak to my daughter for two weeks?
Because most of your summer expenditures are made in relative proximity to the time to shop for your little debt machine's return to school, it's critical to get your budget right, and stick to it.
I truly believe that sleepaway camp is one of the best gifts you can give your child -- and here's why.
As parents, how are we supposed to handle this sometimes cryptic, sometimes heartbreaking information -- and not feel stressed and worried?
You have a clear understanding of the four food groups: cereal, Popsicles, bug juice and s'mores.
It all begins in January, when a trickle of emails for summer camp registration starts popping up in my inbox, always perfectly-timed it seems, with the height of my post-Christmas fatigue.
Sure, they seem like clean beings at home. They shower daily, wash their faces and brush their teeth... but until their camp counselors actually physically force them into the shower, they will not shower. Just assume a few good swims in the lake will suffice.
I wanted my son to have many of the same experiences I did back in my day. Camp, for me, was more than just playing sports during the day and sleeping in a cabin in the woods at night. Camp was a place where I grew into myself and in many ways, discovered who I was.
Didn't I want my little boy to become a young man? I was so busy raising him that I never stopped to think about the day he was grown up and leaving for college.