Camp Memories and Sending My Child To Camp for the First Time

Can't decide whether to send your child to overnight camp? Tracie shares her feelings about sending her daughter to overnight camp for the first time.

When I started thinking about writing a camp post I was feeling pretty anxious. My camp experience as a child was not very positive. I remember being sent off to overnight camp not knowing anyone. I’m not terribly outdoorsy nor am I a real “joiner” (those who know me can stop laughing now).

Eventually, I had fun and started to feel comfortable. Then, the next year, for some reason, my parents switched my camp and I was at a camp where I completely did not fit in: I didn’t have the right clothes or makeup (yes, makeup!) and once again, I didn’t know a one person.

Let’s turn now to my husband. He absolutely loved his childhood camp experience. He talks about it so much and keeps in touch with so many people from his camp that I jokingly refer to it as a cult. They have reunions that former campers genuinely want to attend so they can talk about the good old days.

Former adult campers still go back each summer just to hang out at the camp! For him, his home life was a little bit crazy so camp really was a place he could escape to, have fun, and feel free.

Last year we were faced with the prospect of sending our oldest child to overnight camp. I was neither here nor there about it but of course my husband was adamant that she go. “It’s so good for kids”, “She’ll learn to be independent” were phrases thrown around by him and a whole bunch of people.

I’m in no rush to hurry up her independence but I did agree that if you love camp, it could be a great experience for kids. Plus, we live in the city, so I also believe that we don’t connect with nature as much as we should.

Thus, we shipped her off to a great week-long camp in Algonquin Provincial Park.

This is how I felt about it:

First Time At Camp - Parenting Blog | Help! We've Got Kids

A picture says a thousand words doesn’t it?!

Well, it turns out my daughter did take to the outdoors and the three-day canoe trip and she loved her camp.

But she also really didn’t like being away from home for so long. She’s not one for sleepovers with her friends when she’s in the city.

When it came time to send in her application for this year she decided not to go back to overnight camp. Both my husband and I really probed to make sure she was okay with the decision. You can imagine his disappointment.

I have to say I was surprised at my reaction. Secretly I’m really happy to have her home. But I also do think camp can be a great experience—especially where she was: in Algonquin Park. I also wanted her to have those experiences and memories like her dad that I didn’t have. However, I support her decision and think maybe it was too early. Hopefully she’ll go back when her brother can go with her.

I wonder how much I’ll be bawling when they both leave for camp?!



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