By: Julie Kaiden
Camp is under a month away (yes, you read that right!) and it’s time again to start thinking about the infamous “Last Meal”, or for some families, “the week of a thousand meals”.
Campers can be overwhelmed with the first day jitters, but are also anxious to reunite with camp friends and get back into the much deserved summer routines. Parents are getting emotional about separating with their kids, whether it’s for 2, 4 or 7 weeks – especially after all the time they have had together over the last year +. It certainly brings up all the feels as we watch our children experience a push into adulthood, far from home but embarking on the summer of their lives. They really do grow up fast!
Even though campers live 10-for-2 and love their camps, they also are obsessed with their favorite food from home. Indulge with your child one last time before they take off for the summer with their family meal and enjoy some more family time. Here are 3 easy steps to nailing your last family meal together:
- The first step to pulling off the perfect “Last Meal” is crucial – picking the cuisine! What type of food will your camper miss the most while at camp? Is it Japanese? Italian? Mexican? A delish steak dinner? A home cooked meal? Although food at camps has improved greatly over the years from the mush to a bevy of options including salad, pasta, and the occasional lobster (Helllllllo Maine!) and steak, your camper still wants to say goodbye to home in style.
- The next step is to pick the perfect setting. Besides the food, this meal is an opportunity for valuable family time before the kids leave. You want to make sure you have time to chat about the excitement that lies ahead – yet also feels like a festive, celebratory night. Does your child have a favorite restaurant in your town or city? Is there somewhere your child is aching to try? This year in particular, campers will be laying low before camp to reduce the risk of COVID-19 – so bringing in sounds like the best option if you are wanting the restaurant route. This gives you the controlled, comforting environment of being home – while still enjoying favorite foods from whichever restaurant your camper will be most excited about! This step can get a little tricky when you’re sending multiple kids off to camp. Be prepared for multiple lunches and / or dinners for some good QT and to satisfy the needs of each sibling. It would be wayyyyy too easy to just pick one place!
Editors note: Every year, we take our kids to their most favorite local restaurant for dinner – and it’s where we go for lunch when they return – but this year, keeping in mind staying careful before camp – we are opting to have our last supper at home. My kids don’t know this yet (so I hope they aren’t reading this. Just kidding. They aren’t!) but we are going to create a “restaurant” menu with all their favorite dishes in mini courses. Chez Kaiden, if you will!
- The final step (drum roll pleaseeeeeeee!) is to relax. Let the night be about your child. What they are looking forward to. What they may be anxious about. And of course, what their first meal will be once they are back from camp. Keep the night light and positive and rest up – find your darkest sunnies for the next day – and let them fly. They got this!