Some of the kids are home, and some are expected in a week to ten days. The summer has flown by and it is already time to get school supplies, uniforms, and finally get to the reading list that was never started. How did it go so quickly?
End of the summer rituals at camp are special. Color war, end of summer banquet, awards, the final campfire, the tears as you hop on the bus to go home or to the airport. A very special time in the life of a child. These memories and bonds are being formed for life. The longer a child stays at the same camp, the tighter will be the forever bonds that are formed. And yet, staying at the same camp for 7 or 8 years is not right for everyone.
Sometimes you have selected a camp based on the child who you have at 8 years old. The camp will be the same as they get older. But is that still right for your child?
The camp is competitive, non-competitive, recreational, instructional, too far, too close or whatever it may be to you on a particular day that you choose. But with one to two years of your child’s growth as well as your experience and understanding of the offering of the camp, you may question whether you have made the right choice. The question is good; the question should be asked; and there should be no finger pointing of blame. This is called growth — both by child and parent.
So what are the next steps? Do the homework. Welcome your children with opened arms upon their return and ask how their summer was. What did they love? What did they not love? What would they change if they could? Hear them. Make sure that if there is a sense of disatisfaction, that it is not a challenge with an individual but the offering of the camp. Personal and personnel challenges are found everywhere and running away from these issues will do nothing to teach your child strength. It will teach your child how to successfully run away.
However, there are times where the match between you and your child’s needs and the camp no longer mesh. This is okay. And moving to an alternative early in the process is a wonderful thing to do, still allowing time for the correction AND life long friends. Don’t be afraid to investigate alternatives. I looked at academic alternatives for my children every year. I review my health care policy every year. Why not review your camp choice each year?
Karen Meister, in 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.