When Bee was about 12 years old*, she did a very brave thing. She went off all by herself to one of Do It 4 Real’s UK summer camps. As we dropped her off at the bus, which would take her miles and miles away, (somewhere Up North), I couldn’t help but admire her – she knew no one at all, and yet she very quickly made friends, some of whom, thanks to facebook, she is still in touch with now.
Personally I had mixed feelings about summer camps as a child. The idea of them was always much more exciting than the reality. I’d get totally hyped up in the weeks beforehand, imagining Famous Five type adventures, so that the reality of communal sleeping with strangers, without even a deserted island to explore, was always a disappointment.
Another con is the cost of a summer camp. Unfortunately, they can be expensive, and if your child doesn’t like it due to homesickness for example, then it will be very disappointing for the both of you. There is a positive point to this con, however. Many camps have caught on to the importance of being more frugal in the current economic climate and are therefore offering financial solutions like paying the fee over several months, so that it’s not such a shock to your bank account. When Bee went on her camp, we got a really good discount too for being on a low income, so it’s always worth checking to see if they have concessionary prices.
Home-sickness, shared rooms, parting with wads of cash… Am I selling it to you yet?
Let’s look at the pros.
Firstly, you get rid of your child for a whole week! Brilliant! What will you do with yourself? Have a little sit down probably and catch up on the housework, but still, you can do it in glorious peace!
The real beauty though of summer camps is that it gives your child the opportunity to try out activities you simply can’t provide at home. Bee’s camp had a theatrical theme and try as I might, I can’t provide a cast of actors and singers at home in the back garden. If your child likes the idea of learning archery, climbing, or kayaking, or is desperate to ride a quad bike and play paint balling, then a summer camps could be a great choice.
This counts double if after one week of the summer holidays, your kids are complaining about being bored. One fun packed week will not only be a great experience but give them inspiration for new hobbies during term time, too. There’s nothing stopping them from pursuing their new found interests, and maybe even discovering a passion that lasts a lifetime or which could even turn into a career path.
So, will you be packing your kids of this summer for a week full of muddy fun? Let me know…
*Actually I checked with her after I wrote this and she reckons she was only nine! Amazing…
I coached kids on a big camp in the US (back in my uni days). They are very popular over there and also rather expensive (justifiably I’d say) with most kids staying for 8-10 weeks! I really couldn’t think of a better way for kids to spend a summer.
http://www.indianhead.com/ take a look how they do it.
Bloody hell, the kids stay away from home for 8-10 weeks??? I would definitely pay for that…
Living in the US, summer camp is just part of the package, and since we get three months off from school (yes) it’s almost non-negotiable. A lot of them are expensive, but the local park districts run some cheaper ones too, if you can get in!
My little guy isn’t into the usual sports (baseball, basketball and football) but I have found a camp that does alternatives like kayaking, archery, wall-climbing that I think he will like. I hope so anyway as we had to commit (and pay for) to at least four weeks. Gulp.
Is this a residential camp then or somewhere you have to take him everyday? It sounds like the kind of thing I’d have loved as a child, but I can’t see Belle enjoying it – she doesn’t even like after school clubs :-(