It’s sneaking up on us…summer. The days when your kids sleep in and enjoy a life without so much routine. No more running them to soccer practice, or squeezing in evening PTA meetings. With those blessings also comes the reality that they are home. All. The. Time.
“What is there to eat?”
“Can Ryan/Sarah/Sam come over?”
You’ve heard it ad nauseam, and while you love having your kids around, as a mom or dad, this provides some significant challenges. Maybe you’ve even looked at summers past and resolved this summer will be different. Maybe you had the goal of teaching the kids a new skill or craft. Perhaps you wanted to visit historical and cultural sites and really make summer meaningful.
Or, you’ve bought your kids a stack of entertaining books with the hopes that this summer they’ll fall in love with reading, only to be met with an eye roll and “Ah, Dad!”
You’re not alone. According to Michael Thompson’s piece in The New York Times, many parents are looking for solutions to make their kids’ summer better. For many, summer camp has become a stellar choice for their kids.
He also describes the unusual truth that while your kids may be tired of being taught by you (and their teachers), they’re eager to learn from their camp counselors.
“Children want to learn from older children, and, at a camp that means older campers, C.I.T.’s (counselors in training) and camp counselors. They want to live with them, emulate them, absorb them. In our age-segregated society, camp is the only place in America where an 11-year-old can get the sustained attention of a 19-year-old. In return for the attention of these ‘older children,’ campers will make sacrifices. They will follow all kinds of rules and adhere to all kinds of rituals that they would likely fight at home.”
He points out parents are often amazed when kids return home from camp by how much they’ve matured—by their willingness to clean up after themselves, try new foods and act more responsible. These are some of the lesser-known benefits of summer camp. For parents who wonder what secret camp counselors have that they don’t:
“There’s just no contest between parents and counselors. The college students are vastly better looking than we are; they are truly cool and they have dazzling skills. When children need a summer filled with growth and change (not to mention fun and glory), I tell their parents to give camp a chance.”