Summer Camp: Newbies Unite

Summer Camp…The perfect opportunity for embracing new experiences, growing as a person, and learning to let go. And, hey, samesies for the kids! (What I wouldn’t give for some emojis right now…) Yes, the prospect of sending our precious beings off to an overnight camp for the first time can be somewhat daunting, but overwhelmingly worth it in the end.

If nothing else, we can look at it as our training camp for empty nesting days?

When we send our kids to a sleepaway camp, we’re opening doors for them. We’re making available the opportunity to learn what responsibility looks like when mom and dad aren’t looking over their shoulder with all the constant reminders (a less gentle soul might call it nagging). We’re giving them a glimpse of what it means to be their own person, to be independent of mom and dad. It’s providing them a chance to explore and develop friendships in a whole new way – especially for kids who have gone through school with the same kids since kindergarten – maybe even preschool. They will have experiences they might not otherwise have – with the adapting to roommates and various activities and all the wonderful goodness packed into the summer camp experience.

See, parents, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

That’s all well and good for the kids, but I’m sure I mentioned something about the parents embracing new experiences, growing, learning…Ah, yes. Learning to let go, that’s right; perhaps the biggest hurdle in sending our kiddos off to the grand overnight Summer Camp adventure. Yes, we know our kids, but do you think at least some of the time when we’re thinking to ourselves, “Oh, little Sally is just not ready for this type of experience,” maybe what we mean to say is, “Oh, I’m not ready for her to be away from me for days on end”? Meanwhile, the seasoned Summer Camp parents might fall more along these lines:

“A lot of parents pack up their troubles and send them off to #summercamp.” –@CampingSayings

“After 3 weeks, my house is again full of the sound of kids…arguing. ;) I missed them so much! #summercamp #home #parenthood.” -@elizqueenmama

It's safe to say that eventually, both ends of the sending off to Summer Camp equation will settle in to their new summertime normal, finding things to appreciate in their time apart, and enjoying the glorious honeymoon period when they come back together. Sometimes that old saying is true; absence really can make the heart grow fonder. 

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s April 2018 issue.

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