Why Summer Camp Makes Me Happy
We’re into week two of summer camp and I can’t believe the amount of happiness it brings me to drop my kids off and pick them up each day. It’s not because they drive me crazy and I can’t wait to get them out of my hair. It’s because they absolutely LOVE going to summer camp!
My Summer Camp Experience
I was 10 years old when I first went to a summer day camp. My parents signed me up for the first four weeks of an eight week camp program. I remember being in tears on that last day of camp, praying my mom would sign me up for the last four week session (thankfully she did!). For more than a decade, I attended that summer day camp, as did my brother and two sisters. There were almost always at least two of us in camp keeping the family name strong.
My first summer camp experience began what would become my lifelong love for day camps. I spent the next three summers as a camper, two years as a CIT (Counselor In Training) and then the next eight years as a camp counselor. I was a general counselor for a few summers, ran the cheerleading program for a summer, ran the gymnastics program for another summer and then finished out my career as the Co-Director of the swim program on the waterfront (while my brother was the Co-Director of the boating program). At the time, the camp had overnights once a week and company functions on Saturdays and Sundays, most of which I was lucky enough to be chosen to work at. All in all, I spent 14 summers at the same camp, sometimes seven days a week. Those were definitely some of the best summers of my life.
Summer camp gave me incredible memories. I experienced my first “real” kiss and of course had countless crushes and summer romances. I met my best friend Lisa at camp, who is still my best friend today. I met a friend at camp who would later be my roommate for six years. And best of all, I met my husband at camp. Camp was a couple towns away from where I grew up, so I especially loved that each summer I could get away from my school friends and reinvent myself with my summer friends. And later, when I decided to quit my first job after college, that same summer camp helped me fill the gap while I figured out where I would work next.
My Kids at Summer Camp
No surprise, I was thrilled that this summer I would finally be signing my daughter up for her first summer camp experience. In fact, it was back in January that I went through the well-researched process of how to choose a summer camp for kids and registered her. About a month before the summer program began, my husband and I decided to also enroll our four year old in the camp.
Each morning, my kids wake up thrilled to start their day. Some days they are actually dressed and ready to go before 7 a.m. (summer camp starts at 9 a.m.). There haven’t been any fights to get out the door in the morning and when I pick them up they are sharing all sorts of fun things they did that day, many of which bring back my own camp memories. Last week, my daughter started to sing “Boom Chicka Boom”. Yesterday, she came home with her very first friendship bracelet. My kids are sweaty at pick-up from running, inspired by all the art they are exposed to, talking about what they cooked in Home Ec and showing me the latest yoga poses. They’re also going swimming twice a day and going on weekly field trips with the summer programs we chose. Clearly, these are the many reasons why it makes me happy to drop them off each day.
The best moment so far from summer day camps: On the ride home from camp one day, I asked my son what his favorite part was. He said, “There’s this girl Carrie in my group. I love her.” And so it begins…