It's that time of year! The time when the holidays and new years have passed and we are left in the middle of January with the SUMMER to start planning. It has taken me 10 years to realize that January is really the time to start planning the summer, especially when you have children. I denied it for a long time because is seemed so ridiculous.
Beach House rentals start filling up in January and camp registrations start gearing up. And here we are, making a big camp decision. We are about to step over from day camp to over night camp.
Last summer in this post I mentioned that we were going to visit a camp in Maine for our boys. As a girl, I went to Camp Four Winds in Sargentville, Maine for quite a few summers and loved every one. It is hard being away from home but, looking back, the fun and experiences sure out number the bouts of homesickness.
We loved the camp we visited for our boys and it is time to register our oldest. He is our child that likes to keep very busy. He has a hard time just hanging out. He likes play dates and sleep overs. There is nothing wrong with that it's just that he likes LOTS of play dates and sleep overs.
He is also half way through his first year of middle school and starting to test boundaries a bit. He can be smart mouthed, fresh and frustrating. We know this is natural and try to remember that in many ways he is lovely and kind, just not always to us!
We know that the camp program we are looking at will be an important part of his character development. The camp's philosophy is to develop all areas of the camper and "to be the best, whatever you are." They set weekly personal development goals and work with counselors and staff towards achievement of these goals.
So, our big decision, it's a big investment and our son is excited about the activity level but worried that he will miss his entire summer at home. There isn't much time between the end of school and his leaving for camp. And when he gets back from camp, there isn't much time before school starts again. There is an option to go for a 1/2 session but most kids who go for the first 1/2 session end up staying for the whole summer and those that come in the middle regret not going for the whole summer because it's hard to walk into all the fun that has already started.
He is also thinking he will go for one summer and not return. I guess that's natural but worries me. I don't want him to have the 'one and done' mentality. I am trying to take one summer at a time but would like him to continue at this camp for a number of summers to get the most out of it.
Families in our immediate area don't often send their children to sleep away camp. It sure would be easier if "everyone was doing it"! Anyone out there have children that go away to camp? Do you have any thoughts on whether 11 is too young? Any other suggestions or thoughts are appreciated.