By: Dana Liberman, Summer 365 Counselor located in New Jersey
So, first of all, I am not really old enough to have a child ready to start looking at sleepaway camps, let alone get on a bus and go to one. And second, I just got off a bus a few years ago from my camp, right? Was 1994 not a few years ago?!
I vividly remember having camp directors come over to my house in the snow, setting up their slide projectors in my living room and projecting their ‘camps’ onto my uneven wood-panel wall. Don’t judge, it was the mid-80s 😉. I remember road-tripping with my parents later that year to visit and tour the camps. I remember the songs being sung around each camp, the colors the girls wore and what the bunks looked like. How is it that I am now the one in charge, contacting camp directors, reaching out to set up tours and booking hotels to stay in? Where did the years go and how do I even begin to explain to my daughters how lucky they are they have their entire camp lifetime in front of them and how they need to treasure each and every moment they have at camp for it goes by way too quickly? They will blink and someday find themselves at a desk doing the same for their kids.
When I think about how fortunate I was that my parents gave me the opportunity to go to camp, the gift of sending me to a place to grow into my own, to try things I would never otherwise be exposed to, to learn from others I may never have met and to truly find who I was meant to be in this world, I recognize the importance of the decision.
And so, as I embark on this journey with my oldest daughter, unsure of what her camp experience will be, I am trying to keep a level head about it all. I loved camp…I am camp. There is no place in the world I feel more myself than at camp. But this isn’t about me, it is about her. And I want her to have her own experience. I want her to find a place that is all her own. Of course, she knows how I feel about camp, she will tell you it is my happy place, but I am doing my best not to influence her decision about where to go or what to expect. I want her to experience the websites, the videos and the conversations with camp directors with an open, unbiased and clear mind. I want her to walk on to campuses this summer and not know what to expect. I want her opinions to be her own. I want her to be wow-d and surprised. I want her to be curious and ask questions…not the ones my husband and I will ask, the ones a 7-year old wants to know about. She’s already excited to ‘stay up all night’ (and my apologies in advance to her future counselor because she very well might some nights!) and she doesn’t quite understand how you really just get to have fun and do activities all day and night for 7 weeks straight. I love the innocence and can’t wait for the adventure that lies ahead for her.
So here we go. Bring on the brochures! Let the videos roll! Our bags are packed (well not just yet but in my head I’m already mentally packing)! I have waited my whole mom-life to do this and after the year our children have had I can’t imagine a more perfect time to tour and start this journey. Hope you will follow along with me on this ride…plan to keep you all posted.
Wish us luck!