Category: Full Summer or Not

What can you fit in the summer 2017?

by Karen Meister

Every summer, we get about 10 1/2 weeks to plan for the kids and the family.  I for one, was never in the “mommy camp” mindset.  Keeping three boys home for an entire summer would crush me.  Sorry!  Not only would I have grayed prematurely, but the cost of entertaining three kids (and often times, friends) would have been overwhelming.  I was always creative with things to do at lower prices, but 10 1/2 weeks is a lot of planning.

For years, I did spend 8 full weeks running a camp… so I guess it was a mommy camp.  Tons of fun, loved it, and got to be the mommy that provided camp to about 1,000 kids and quite a few families.  But I wanted my kids to have the experience of being independent and away from me.  It was time to go to sleep away camp.  There are many decisions to make when selecting just the right camp for your children and family, but the first big decision is FULL SUMMER OR PARTIAL SUMMER.

Which is best for the kids, the family, the finances….  not necessarily in that order!   I have always been a planner.  I usually ask first, selfish or not, what I want out of the summer in between hours at work:

  • a trip, 
  • some alone time (I’m sure everyone wants some of that), 
  • closet cleaning,
  • exploring a new hobby….
You get the idea.  Then of course, how much time do I need for these wonderful things.  Adults only trip?  Maybe 10 days?  Family trip?  5-7 days?  Then build the rest of my “wants” around those major choices.
For me, full summer camping for the kids was always the right choice.  From a calendar standpoint, I had it all figured out.  So here are the dates for 2016/17 for South Florida:
  • SCHOOL ENDS around June 8th.
  • Week 1 and 2:  
  • The beginning of June was always a great time to get the bags ready to leave for camp, let the kids hang out for a while and get bored.
  • Off to the family vaca for a few days… chill out, away from the phone, computer, distractions  
  • Weeks 3 – 5:  
  • A few days at home for last minute details and preparation for camp
  • Kids leave for camp
  • Time to clean the closets, start the fitness program, relax and enjoy.
  • Weeks 7 – 9:  
  • Visiting day and then exploration vacation for adults only.  Everyone deserves that adult time and can be in the area of camp, off to that special place saved up for, or stay-cation.  Either way, 10 days of no work, no closets, just time for doing what you want.  
  • Time to reflect on a great vacation, back to work, finish the closets and voila!  
  • The kids come home from camp.  
  • Week 10 – 11:
  • Typically, there is time to do laundry, the last book report before the start of school, and just enough time to enjoy the kids but really be ready to return to the structure of daily routine.
  • Start of the new school year!!
Now you can always count on a little tropical storm threat to make the summer last longer.  But that is a really nice and full summer.  At least for me. But as you can see, there is some down time, some play time and some special time.  Everyone deserves it.  Right!!
Now we can always discuss other little details like benefits of a long summer of sleep away camp, homesickness, readiness and that one pesky detail like finances…
But I hope this proposed schedule can give you an idea of how you can organize your summer to have it all.

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Full Summer Camping-The Best!

by Karen Meister

Summer lasts for 3 months…  And letting go of your babies for what feels like the whole summer can be scary the first time.  52 days is a typical full summer camp and that is just not happening (says many the first year)…..  So here is what probably goes on once they leave and you have only committed to a half summer.

You will:

  1. Go to work, in the home or out of the home.
  2. No lunches to make, no beds to make, no need to rush the kids out of the house so you can add an extra “fill in the blanks”  (workout routine, cooking class, reading time…).
  3. Several hours a day sitting in front of the computer pouring over the 500 pictures posted by the camp in order to find the one picture of your child (smiling, grumpy, busy, messy)….
  4. Start creating the to-do list of big projects.
  5. Prepare for the grown up trip you plan to take with your significant other.
  6. Enjoy your trip and return to the to-do list that never left the drawing board.
  7. Welcome the kids home from camp or go to visiting day and pick them up.
  8. Do laundry and hear stories.
  9. Go back to work and send the kids to day camp, back to making lunches and rushing them out the door.
  10. Wonder why you thought 26 days was too long….
You now have the kids home for almost 6 more weeks before school starts again.  And the thoughts going through your mind are:
  1. Let’s take a short family vacation to break up the 6 weeks.  Can we afford it?
  2. It is really hot and raining almost every day.  The kids are getting a bit grouchy and the camp carpool line is crazy!
  3. I thought I would save money keeping them home but it is costing me so much money in activities!
  4. Never did get anything done on my to-do list….
  5. I am glad to have the kids back but wow, I really enjoyed the break.
  6. And they seemed to be really happy….
  7. What if after visiting day, they stay… how would it be?
  8. Hmmmm…. it really went fast, almost too fast.
  9. I still have lots of time with them all June….
  10. Maybe next year???
After so many years of talking to thousands of families, who ultimately do send their kids away for the whole summer, I share this dialogue because there is no reason to be afraid from the very start.  There are many different camps that offer a significant change in the way camp is run because EVERYONE attends for a whole summer.  The bonding, the camaraderie, the lifelong friendships from day one, are amazing.  So before you just say “no way” to full summer camping, think about it.  The kids will definitely be able to handle it.  We now just have to get you on board.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.


Let Your Child Grow Beyond You

by Karen Meister

YOU MUST TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO READ THIS AMAZING STORY.

As you know by now, I am a complete and firm believer in the value of the right summer camp experience.  I believe as a parent, you provide strong roots at home that represent your character and desire for your children as they enter into society.  And by sending your child to the right camp, especially when they are away for the whole summer, you are giving them the wings to confidently practice what they have been taught at home.  You are saying to your child:

“I believe in you and that you will be successful on your own.  Go and make the world a better place.  Goodbye!”

And so, I share the following story from one of my clients who was hesitant but interested in venturing into camp beyond the tried and true, beyond where the neighbor goes.  They were interested, but fearful,  in finding a place where their son could soar;  letting him go to be all that he could be.  Although it will take a few minutes to read, please read this lovely story.

I share, with the family’s permission, the story of Christian, as she has told it.

When your kid is away from home and you get an unscheduled, unexpected call from camp, your heart starts to race a bit.  ”Hello?”

“Hi, this is the Camp Director. Don’t worry, Christian is fine. Nothing has happened. Are you with your husband?”

“No, I’m out picking up school uniforms, but I can conference him in.”

“Yes, I think you should do that.”

Conference call initiated and the Camp Director said:

“In 25-30 years, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m still getting emotional thinking about it. As you know, we are in the middle of Color War. Christian’s age group had a big softball game this afternoon. His team is behind in overall points, but if they got a win, the softball game would be a good place to close the gap. The whole camp was there to watch.

“There’s a little boy here from China. He’s not very athletic. And the other team’s coach put him first in the lineup. And he had two strikes. I was calling the game and gave permission for the coach to come in and help him swing the bat.

“So he gets a hit. And it goes straight to Christian, who is pitching. Christian’s a heck of a ball player. I don’t need to tell you this. Simple play for him to grab the ball and toss it to first. Easy out.

“But Christian saw this kid and made a play straight from the heart. He easily fielded the ball, turned, and threw it as hard as he could into the outfield, keeping the ball in play, so the little boy could round the bases for a home run before the ball could be thrown back to the plate.

“The whole camp saw it. He never once let the little boy know he did it on purpose. So tonight, I stood up in front of the whole camp and awarded Christian the ‘Hugeness Award’ while still keeping the secret, so as not to taint the other boy’s home run. Christian is an amazing kid with a huge heart.”

After I dried my tears, I thought THIS is why summer camp is so important. It has taught my uber-competitive kid that “winning” comes in many forms. I am so grateful that we can give him this opportunity and so so so proud of him!  And so happy that I worked with Karen in finding just the perfect camp for my son to really spread his wings.

And I cried too.  Because when a child is successful, AND the parent shares, it makes my job so worthwhile.  Thank you to all who have shared with me over the years!

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Full Summer Camps – Better Option?

by Karen Meister

Visiting day is over and/or right around the corner.  And for many, visiting day is the center of summer.  For those who have sent their kids to sleepaway camp for a half session, tell me if this sounds right….

You could not conceive of letting the kids go away for the whole summer because it just sounds too long.  52 days is a typical full summer camp and that is just not happening (says many the first year)…..  So here is what probably goes on once they leave.

 

  1. Go to work, in the home or out of the home.
  2. Add an extra (workout routine, cooking class, reading time…) because you don’t have to make lunches, make beds, rush kids out of the house…..
  3. Several hours a day sitting in front of the computer pouring over the 500 pictures posted by the camp in order to find the one picture of your child (smiling, grumpy, busy, messy)….
  4. Start creating the to-do list of big projects.
  5. Prepare for the grown up trip you plan to take with your significant other.
  6. Enjoy your trip and return to the to-do list that never left the drawing board.
  7. Welcome the kids home from camp or go to visiting day and pick them up.
  8. Do laundry and hear stories.
  9. Go back to work and send the kids to day camp, back to making lunches and rushing them out the door.
  10. Wonder why you thought 26 days was too long….
You now have the kids home for almost 6 more weeks before school starts again.  And the thoughts going through your mind are:
  1. Let’s take a short family vacation to break up the 6 weeks.  Can we afford it?
  2. It is really hot and raining almost every day.  The kids are getting a bit grouchy and the camp carpool line is crazy!
  3. Never did get anything done on my to-do list….
  4. I am glad to have the kids back but wow, I really enjoyed the break.
  5. And they seemed to be really happy….
  6. What if after visiting day, they stay… how would it be?
  7. Hmmmm…. it really went fast, almost too fast.
  8. I still have lots of time with them all June….
  9. Maybe next year???
And keep in mind, when the kids are home, there is a definite cost involved.  Granted, having someone else care and feed for the kids all summer is a pretty penny.  But before you just say “no way” to full summer camping, be sure to analyze dollars and cents and everyone’s mental health.
Let me know your thoughts and keep enjoying the summer.

 
Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.