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.
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.
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.
As many children head back-to-school, how can we continue to nurture self-confidence, independence and grit from the home front?
I truly believe that sleepaway camp is one of the best gifts you can give your child -- and here's why.
You have a clear understanding of the four food groups: cereal, Popsicles, bug juice and s'mores.
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.