“We do want to make it very clear that there are no visitor days at camp during the summer months.”
The lump in my throat progresses to tears as I re-read the new policy at my daughter’s summer camp.
This summer marks the first year my 10-year old daughter, my youngest child, my baby, advances from a two-week camper to a month-long camper. Her own choice, I feel compelled to add. She has enjoyed an amazing two-week experience at this all-girls camp over the last 2 summers and begged me, upon turning 10, to allow her stay for a month. I couldn’t refuse since her older brothers have also been attending an all-boys camp each July. I could hardly refuse based on my anticipation of aching child-sickness. I could hardly refuse after the camp director confirmed the fact that many of her other former cabin mates will also make this leap to a full month stay on or around their 10th or 11th birthdays as well. So, I agreed, always knowing that a mid-month visit was planned (as we do with our sons).
“These [visitor] days were completely unsettling for the new and old campers and resulted in campers spending a day getting settled back into camp life. …we take pride in the fact that our campers are our highest priority and our decisions are made with their best interests in mind”
Okay I get it, but what about MY best interests? I don’t know why, but it actually never dawned on me when I sent my eldest off to camp in the summer of 2003 that someday all my goslings would waddle off into the wild. It is now happening. I do take comfort in knowing that without iPods, cell phones, computers and TV, they’ll come home more accomplished swimmers, trippers, archers, canoeists, kayakers, sailors, bush-crafters, campfire chefs, fishers, horseback riders, basketball/soccer/ball hockey players, climbing wall authorities, aerial rope gurus, mountain bikers, woodworkers, singers, thespians, artists, lapidary aficionados, and environmentalists. I do know I can’t offer them an equal experience at home (because for one thing, there’s no way I’m cooking for 150 kids, I don’t care how cute they are!) and I realize full well that this experience is a great privilege to them.
It’s just that I have always looked forward to that mid-month visit. Now, as my baby heads off in July for her first month-long camp experience, that date circled in red on the family calendar is two weeks later than I thought… and I’m a little bit sad.
And I’m little bit worried for her too. So, when I delicately approached the subject of this new policy with her yesterday at the kitchen table, was she concerned? Was she worried? Was she sad?
Not quite. She gave a magnificent fist pump carried out with a triumphant “Yes!” she was most decidely not concerned, not worried, not sad.
So, the unwritten, implied final piece of this new policy should also read “…and you parents that don’t like it? Get over it!”