Summer camp. Did you go to summer camp? I never had the opportunity, but my hubby did. Our kids have gone every since they were old enough, including a couple of mother/daughter and father/son weekends. Camps and mission trips for kids are so awesome!! My kids have such a great time with friends, creating memories and so much more. But my favorite thing about sending my kids to camp is what it does for their growing spirit.
Summer camp is a wonderful way for kids to gain confidence. It gives them the opportunity to be independent in a safe, kid-friendly environment. They are supervised, but not at the level they are at home. They are required to take care of their own basic needs for a few days away from mom. Before leaving for kids camp, our children’s minister always asks these questions: “can you make your own bed?”, “can you take a shower by yourself”, “can you fix your own hair?”.
These are things they will have to do while at camp, and away from mom :). They will also need to make good choices when it comes to food and snacks. Speaking of choices, they will be making a lot of these all by themselves. Now, don’t panic. It’s okay!! I promise!! Most likely, the sponsors that you entrusted your precious one with are not going to let them go too crazy, but they might let them do some things that they wouldn’t be able to do at home, and that’s ok, that’s what camp is for.
Let them go to camp if at all possible. Letting them go says “I trust you”, “I know you can do it”, “You will be fine without mom and dad for a couple of days”, “You are big enough”. For many mommies, it’s much harder for us to put them on the bus, then it is for them to get on the bus. Take a chance – do it, you won’t regret it.
Also, if you are able, go with them. Not because you want to follow them around and make sure their okay (they will hate that, trust me), but because you want to see what it’s all about. Sharing this with them will create so many blessed memories.
If you can’t go, but you can visit – visit. Again, not necessarily to check up on them, but to experience a little part of what they are experiencing. It will bless your heart.
As I am now the mother of older kiddos, I do occasionally get questions from moms of younger kiddos who are just starting the things I have done over and over :). As our summer camps at church were ramping up, I had more than one momma say to me – “what are your tips for sending kids to camp?”. I would say the same thing every time – let them pack themselves!!
No, I am not insane. Many camps provide a list of what to bring. If a list is available – let them have the list. I started doing this early on, honestly for my own sanity. My younger two were not alone in wanting to pack way to soon for camp, my older two did as well when they were younger (now they pack an hour before they have to leave). Rather than argue with them or listen to the begging any longer, I said “fine, here’s the list, knock yourself out”.
For the first two or three years, I would recommend having them lay everything out (rather than putting it in the suitcase), and then you have a chance to go over the list with them and check for any missing items like underwear and socks – this was what my kids always seemed to forget to put it??? I haven’t checked my teenagers bags in years. Have they forgotten things – yes many times, but you know what they survived, and they didn’t forget it the next time :). My kids are now better packers than I am, and much quicker.
I know some of you are hyper-ventilating right now. It will be fine. Their outfits don’t have to match -it’s camp- nobody expects them to look cute. It is such a small thing that I promise will give them so much confidence. It’s a good time to teach them tips and tricks – for example my oldest never goes anywhere without packing a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans – because you just never know (even in the middle of July in Oklahoma :)). In my opinion, there are so many kids out there who will have a hard time adjusting to life on their own, purely because us mommas have done everything for them. Yes, I know we love to do it – but when are they going to learn if we don’t let them. As my son approaches 18 and “adulthood”, I have begun to notice some of these hangups. Some days I think “yes, he will be fine”, and then other days when he is acting helpless, I think “oh my goodness, he is never going to make it”. I have a year, right? 🙂
And, just think, if we start letting them do things on their own, we will have all sorts of extra time to do whatever we want!! 🙂
Blessings to you!! Have a wonderful weekend!!