Out of school often means going to camp, and quite likely, this single word fits powerfully into your child’s summer vocabulary. And, the word swarms all around the rest of us, too. Why, just the other day while sitting at a traffic light—even before the light changed—the nearby digital advertisement urged me to register for upcoming Magic Camp and T ball Camp!
Truly, the options abound. The 2019 Summer Camp Buffet includes:
Special Needs Camp
And the list goes on. And on. And on.
But here are several realities:
Hold on for the big A-HA: camp is not just a rite of passage for the camper. Camp exists for the family as a whole. This away experience offers a tiny foray toward the ultimate day the child leaves the nest. (I know, ouch.) Nonetheless, for a defined period in the current calendar, the family undergoes a calculated, healthy change.
Camping is not for everyone, and not for everyone for every summer. Wisdom must lead the way, and guide parents in how to incorporate camp into the life formation of each individual child.
Creativity comes alive when struggling budgets can’t manage the classic weeklong variety. In such cases, even a neighborhood camp where a small group gathers and sets up encampment night by night in each other’s yards, genuinely builds memories to last a lifetime. So, stare down the obstacles, pitch the tent, pull out the s’mores, grab the guitar (and the insect repellent) and create your own customized adventure!
And, when your young person’s summer does include an away opportunity, here is your go-to list for preparation:
Mom’s Guide for Camp-Ready Kids
1. Pack like a pro. See illustration and explanation below.
2. Include self-addressed, stamped envelopes in hopes your camper will write to you. Save them. These are treasures. Also, send self-addressed, stamped envelopes for your child to offer new friends to encourage contact once camp is over.
3. Fold in mini surprises for your dear one to open each day he or she is away; this gives something to look forward to and reminds them of your love.
4. Have a ‘What to do if I get homesick’ conversation. And, remind them to talk to Jesus when someone hurts their feelings. He always understands.
5. Send Dial soap; it will clean those scrapes and cuts like nothing else, thus helping to prevent a nasty infection.
6. Treat yourself to rare mom opportunities during this sacred space camp creates for you. Plan a date night with your camper’s dad, have coffee with a dear friend, read a refreshing book, visit a museum (and take your time studying the treasures) or go on an outdoor adventure.
7. Definitely prepare your schedule to provide focused attention to hear their stories when they return.
Before you know it, your camper will come bouncing back, exhausted, dirty, and begging to sign up for next year’s session. And truthfully, all too soon, they will be walking out the door and not just to camp. So for summer 2019, savor the memories; yes, savor the memories.
Speaking of memories …
As you read this, Larry and I will be in the throes of Cousins’ Camp for our grandchildren, where he and I serve as full-on camp directors! Our activities include a water park, an amusement park, a bike ride, a visit to a pottery studio, and badminton and soccer in the backyard. Oh my.
Living With Eternal Intentionality®
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever” (Romans 11:36 NASB).
Looking back, what were your camp experiences growing up?
How did God use these opportunities in your personal development?
Were you only a camper or did you later participate as a counselor?
How can you, encourage a camper in your life this summer, whether it is a child, a grandchild, a nephew, or a neighbor?
Be sure to contribute your thoughts by leaving a comment.
[Photos by Coleman Kavgian]