Spring break is over and the kids are “happily” back in school (wink wink). Vacation was great but wow…. whirlwind ran through the house and the return to routine is okay. And now you can take a few moments to realize there are only 9 weeks till the end of school (in South Florida at least). One grading period, and the kids are home for the summer. And if you have not yet made plans — vacation, camp, teen programming, older kids in jobs — now now now is the time!!!!
And the delicious summer is the best time for your child to explore and experiment. Best time to try on new hats (so to speak) to find out what they enjoy doing, without getting a grade….
Going to sleepaway camp WITHOUT the neighborhood friends is the best way for your child to try on new hats without consequence. They don’t bring the mistakes home. The failures stay at camp and are forgotten by the following year. The successes come home through stories and pictures.
1. In charge of their own destiny: At camp, your child chooses to be a participant or a spectator, agreeable or defiant. And it is good. The experiment will allow them to determine what place makes them happy and how to manage it.
2. Learn to make new friends: Without a friend from home, your child must enter a new community and start fresh. There is no history and the camp persona gets to be developed. Liberating!!!
3. Try new things/believe in yourself: Surrounded by counselors cheering you on for EVERYTHING, your child will most certainly tie dye even if they hate art, swing a baseball bat even if they hate sports, or hop on a horse even if they are terrified. The 24/7 support from peers and counselors encourages the experiment. And the result is a newfound ability to believe that you can try new things in all areas.
4. Develop deep relationships: When you live with people for weeks at a time, you see their good and bad moments and must still learn to deal with it. And you must learn HOW to deal with it without getting your feelings hurt or hurt others. He or she will learn compassion, empathy, when to get involved and when to stand back.
5. Practice and value teamwork: Between Color War, intercamp games or canoeing down the river, there are so many opportunities to reinforce dependence on your fellow campers and participation in the team. Your child will learn to be a leader and a follower, and alas bring those skills home for those pesky group projects that every school demands.
Over the years, sleepaway camp will help your child both develop skills and help them understand where their comfort zone is. Their understanding and control of their own destiny will be reinforced and it does carry over into the school year. Help your child develop their future and find out not only who they are, but who they can become.
There are still many camps that have space for children. But now is the time to make choices. 47 school days till the summer is here!