We’ve gotten summer camp all wrong. We are sending the wrong people. Namely, kids. I discovered this years ago when I had my first encounter with summer camp, or more accurately, when I first had to research camps for my kids after my town’s camp failed to be a viable option any longer (they tended to lose kids much like the clothes dryer loses socks — you know, you put both in, but you only get one out).
Admittedly, my camp intelligence was fairly non-existent, but my research that day opened my eyes to the vast, seemingly endless array of recreational activities designed specifically to ensure a spectacular summer experience for those age 5 through 18. There was, quite possibly, a camp for every single activity on earth.
It was then I had the epiphany. Why in God’s name are we sending kids to camp?
If anyone needs a camp, it would be adults. I mean how stressful can life be for a kid? They don’t work. They don’t cook. They don’t do laundry. Or go food shopping. Or even pick their clothes up off the floor. They don’t have a mortgage to pay. They don’t plan for the future. And, most importantly, they don’t have kids. What on earth do they need to get away from?
Among the varied and almost limitless camp options unearthed by my research were a knitting camp, a yoga camp, a tech and gaming camp, a few fashion camps, several theater camps, tons of art and sports camps, and a gifted and talented camp. Then there was a camp to learn how to shape hot molten glass; a rock-and-roll camp training in the important life skills of stage performance; a drumming circle camp, where one could learn “earth-based beats” and chant a “root mantra;” a Tae Kwon Do camp; and a zoo camp. I think that last one is just a way for the zoo to get free pooper scoopers. Well, actually, you have to pay to be a pooper scooper.
But that’s not all. I discovered a Magic for Muggles camp. And, I even found a circus camp, training youngsters in the fine art of juggling, plate spinning and slapstick, aimed at those parents who aspire for their children to grow up to be circus clowns.
I considered submitting an application to one of the camps I came across. The volleyball camp. But it was only offered for 5th through 8th grade girls, and while I look young for my age, I thought the counselors might catch on. I was quite distraught over the situation since my volleyball class adjourned for the summer, and no volleyball courses are offered for adult women with the skill set of 5th to 8th grade girls. Which seemed a little unfair if you ask me. It appeared to be a blatant case of age discrimination.
The one camp that really caught my attention, though, was the Surf and Turf Adventure Camp. This one wasn’t so much a camp as a land-based cruise ship. It boasted a fun-fueled, action-packed summer of rafting, hiking, tubing, biking, canoeing, spelunking and surfing. I’m pretty sure you also got to take a zip-line tour through a tropical jungle somewhere in the continental United States. And, by you, I mean your kid.
And that’s what I’m talking about. Do you think I’m going to shell out $500 a week for my kids to go have all the experiences I want to have?
And, that doesn’t even touch upon all the sleep-away camps we’re missing out on.
Stacey is the mastermind behind the humor blog, One Funny Motha, a site she sees as a refuge for rational people. Predicated on the belief that parenting is not nor ever should be an extreme sport, One Funny Motha provides incisive cultural commentary, also known as common sense. Her work has appeared on such sites as The Huffington Post, BlogHer, Scary Mommy and Mamalode, and in 2014 she was named one of the Top 10 Funny Parent Bloggers of the Year by Voice Boks. Perhaps most importantly, she is the proud founder of the Detached Parenting Movement, a child-rearing model she single handedly developed without any guidance or advanced degrees in child psychology. The woman’s a genius. Find her running her mouth on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and, of course, her blog.