I‘m a huge believer in separation between church and state. That is, I believe the pious love of camp shouldn’t touch your life at the stately institution of school. Camp friends should be separate from your school friends. A random handful of kids who happen to attend your school, sure, it’s inevitable I guess. Parents want a short drive. If you’re on Long Island, you select camps in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, upstate New York. Maine if you’re daring and want to make a vacation out of visiting day. Canada if you want nothing to do with anyone from school.
Ideally, I’d choose a camp with a uniform, so kids can shine by way of their talents and personality. The focus shouldn’t be about what you’ve got, what you wear. No technology. Disconnect and re-connect with nature and simple pleasures. I wish public schools had uniforms, especially in middle school.
Each kid is different, and you know your child. But I adore spending time with my beans while they’re young, and I want to keep them with me for as long as they’ll stay. Do I think sleep away camp is an extraordinary experience? Absolutely. I went the summer after 4th grade, and it was too early for me. Then again in 6th grade, where I promise you, promiscuity bloomed.
Abigail says to me, “We’re eight, lady. Which means you’ve only got ten more years to raise us and teach us stuff. Better get crackin’.” Yes, her actual words, I swear. I tell her that your parents usually get more than 18 years, and that the bigger life lessons can come at any time, especially in and after college. I don’t know that the teaching ever stops.
Last summer, the kids rolled on home with atrocious manners, repeating nasty remarks they learned at camp, and we spent $10k on those loverly lessons. It’s the price of day camp around here for two kids. Of course manners unquestionably are learned at home, what’s inappropriate, what’s not to be repeated. But here’s my question: there are sports camps, science camps, religious camps, music camps, drama camps, fat camps, but there aren’t any manners camps. Etiquette camps. Most camps dip into all the wells, but they somehow skip the ethics. I like simple, bare, camps, without fancy activities. I like the camps where children use their minds and imaginations. But it’s too early for me to let mine go. Maybe I’ll head back to a camp from my childhood and be a counselor, kids in tow. It’s not the same experience when a parent is present, but it’s at least a taste.
I have no idea what I’m doing with the bean sprouts this summer. Camp, no camp? Camp Stephanie? Travel some. Maybe Abigail will spend time at drama day camp. I’d really like to send them to an outdoor adventure day camp, where they work on ropes courses, figuring out brain puzzles, like how to move their whole troop onto a wooden raft in a forest without touching the ground. Classic “Project Adventure” or “Outdoor Education.” We’ll see. Maybe I’ll join the country club where I grew up and spend our summer with my cousin and her four children. But saving to buy a house doesn’t really play nicely with these ideas. I can’t do nothing with them all summer, what with my ban on TV and all electronics. I don’t know what we’ll do. And there certainly won’t be any book writing to be had if I have the kids with me all day long. I don’t love these decisions, and making no decision is actually a decision.
To get my mind off and on to the joys of camp, I’ve been watching camp movies lately. I share with you my list, because sharing is caring, unless it’s an STD. Meatballs, obviously. Wet Hot American Summer, sure. But these are camp movies you likely haven’t seen…
With her personal and professional life in shambles, a young woman seeks refuge by working as a summer camp counselor with her two best friends.
I was so surprised by how good this movie is. The writing is actually good, like Pitch Perfect good! That is, this isn’t some B movie fit for ABC Family. It’s sharp and snappy, witty banter. It’s one I want to watch again! Definitely check this movie out; I dare you not to like it!
An investment adviser gets more than he bargained for when he spends a week as a counselor at a camp for troubled kids and bonds with an abused boy.
Okay, so this one is a type of Lifetime TV, Hallmark Channel movie. Still, I cried. Though, it doesn’t take much.
This inspiring film goes inside the world’s most prestigious magic camp and lets you in on the ambitions, stresses and dreams of the kids attending. Or as the tagline goes: “Welcome To The Real Hogwarts.” This is a documentary, where kids are invited to let their freak flags fly. It’s basically American Idol for young magicians.
As a Netflix #StreamTeam member, I receive a complimentary subscription to Netflix in exchange for sharing 1 post each month about Netflix movies and TV Shows, though I often share more often because, let’s face it, I own the verb “overshare.” As always, all opinions are mine, though you’re welcome to agree with me.