I remember my first sleep away camp experience. My parents sent us to church camp for a few weeks when I was in the fourth grade. We sang a lot of “Father Abraham” and “The Butterfly Song” and of course the old favorite “Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory” – and we swam a lot…but mostly I sneaked into the boys dorms and convinced boys to make-out in the woods with me.
Yeah. That was me. I really loved church camp. Praise Jesus.
Anyway, I continued to enjoy my Summer camp experiences which grew to eventually going camping for nearly the whole Summer by the time I was entering the 10th grade(and yes I was perhaps still chasing the boys). These Summer memories are some of the best of my childhood and I’ve always hoped my kids would love sleep-away camp at some point if they chose to go. (Also, the camps would be girls only – for obvious reasons).
Last Summer Eloise asked if she could go away to camp..and I told her no, that I felt 8 years old was a bit too young but would reconsider this year. And she talked about it constantly for the past year.
So this Summer – at 9 years old Eloise is going away to a short week of sleep-away camp. And I’m sending her 7 year old sister with her.(I know, remember most rules you make only have to apply to your oldest child)
In case you were wondering if perhaps your child is ready for their first sleep-away camp – I’ve made this handy checklist for your reference:
1. Does your child ignore you when you call their name to come in for dinner?
2. Does your child leave toys out all over the house every single day?
3. Does your child not pick-up said toys without you asking 45 times?
4. Does your child pick fights with his siblings causing WWF activity in your living room?
5. Does your child now eat more than a 280 pound Sumo wrestler causing your grocery bill to soar?
6. Do you have to do your child’s laundry?
7. Does your child like other people more than he seems to like you as he gets older?
8. Does your child talk-back and sass you daily?
9. Does your child like to ride on a school bus?
10. Does your child occupy a bedroom that could be used as a fine craft room for a few weeks each Summer?
If you’ve answer ‘yes’ to 7 or more of these questions – then YES – your child is ready for sleep-away camp!
In all seriousness though, I do feel my kids are ready. They already like to spend the night at friend’s houses, they are very responsible, they make good decisions, they are caring of others, and most of all – they are begging me to go!
We also have a few day camps scheduled, and a few short trips - but mainly we are just planning some relaxing in the Summer sun this year. I talked about it a little when I was interviewed last month for care.com. You can read the full article here on striking a balance in the Summer.
Do you send your kids to sleep-away camp yet or at what age did they start going? Also, when does mommy sleep-away camp start? I’ve heard the guys across the lake are hot!