I have heard six degrees of separation, but lately I feel like it is more one to two degrees. At every turn, there seems to be a connection near and far. Same camp, same college, same high school. The more you move around, the more connections you can find. I have a dear friend who moved away from his hometown, into a house where the new neighbor came from the same hometown. When they realized the coincidence, and shared their passion for the same football team, they became best of friends and raised their children together in this transplanted neighborhood. Twenty five years later, they are still best of friends. It’s a small small world!
A few nights ago, I was at a holiday dinner outside of my hometown. I met a new person and through our conversations, we realized that we had one degree of separation which was CRAZY!!! And it was because of summer camp.
I have noticed that due to cyberspace, people I knew from summer camp many years ago have come back into my life, even if it is in cyberspace. We shared memories, it brings us back to our childhood as well as offers great business connections at this stage of our lives. Always trying to find the best way to help families select summer camps for their children, I am looking back to these wonderful connections and how we can best prepare our children for their future “small world” moments and benefits.
I often am asked how I feel about kids going to camp with their friends. And although every family, every child is different, I am a big believer in going it alone or going with a relative. Why? So many reasons, but let’s list them. If you go to a camp where the neighborhood children are NOT going, you:
Give your child the freedom to explore. They will not be bringing their mistakes home with them because only their camp friends are aware. And this gives them the freedom to try new things without long lasting consequences.
Teach your child how to make new friends. The neighborhood friends are there no matter what. Between school, religion, sports teams, and family associations, there are a group of friends your children will have year after year. But learning how to handle that uncomfortable moment at the start of a new chapter of life is absolutely invaluable. To learn how to conquer those jitters, overcome them and be successful, are lessons learned at a stage of life when there is very little to lose.
Meeting people from all over the world. There is something to be said for having friends from many different places around the globe. There is an opening of eyes as to how other people live, that where you are from has its own uniqueness, a sense of pride that you are from your hometown. At a young age, your child is introduced to variety….
Future contacts many years from now. When you develop a special bond with your friends from camp, there is nothing tighter. Years from now, your child will choose a college, a career, be in a business…. And having their summer camp as one of many credible ways to network is just awesome.
Doing it alone. Without the crutch or even the burden of having a friend along for the ride, you are teaching your child how to count on themselves for comfort, strength and success. And that is priceless. Often times, if a hometown friend tags along, it is a burden for your child. They feel responsible for the friend’s safety, success and happiness. Too much! Let your child be responsible solely for themselves.
So, think about this incredibly small world and consider giving your child new opportunities for reach now and in the future. It’s a time of life where distance is available and new friends outside the ‘hood can be made.