I have mixed feelings about summer camp. I didn't go when I was young. First, I hate to camp (as in be outside with the bugs and toilets that are not guaranteed to flush). Second, I'm not a good team player. And I don't think my mom needed to put me in camp. I lived much of her working life in a townhouse community. I just lived at the pool. My kids, however, need to be in camp. They can't stay home alone all day. It's not fun and it's a guaranteed thing they'll find trouble. So off to camp they go.
Camps have been tough for us. We did the drop-in sort of camp for a few years. That worked great for my schedule but the girls didn't love it. Sports camp was met with enthusiasm, but briefly. This year we did a few different things. We sent them to sailing camp in Sodus Point, NY (they stayed with family). That was awesome. And they went to Camp Ahava here in Silver Spring before and after the NY experience. They love it there. It's a small camp located at our local Jewish center. The camp is open to all kids, which is good because my kids aren't being raised Jewish. They love this place. Here's why:
1. Swimming. They go to the local swim club three, count 'em - 3!, times a week. Swim classes are offered. My little fish love it.
2. Field trips. Every week they've gone somewhere. One week it was to Butler's Orchard to pick blueberries for baking. Another week was a water park. This week was the butterfly garden at Brookside Gardens. Last week was rock climbing. All were met with great enthusiasm.
3. Baking. Every week they bake something. Often it's challah bread in preparation for shabbat dinner. They've made other things - each age group makes something different. And apparently they're all usually pretty yummy.
4. Roller skating. They roller skate all around the facility (inside!) when they aren't involved in another activity. The girls think this is fun. I think it must be tough to be a counselor when all your charges are on skates.
5. Counselors. The girls like their counselors. They like all the staff at the camp. This is a first. I don't hear anything grumpy or complaining about this camp. The director and the staff in the office seem to genuinely care if the campers are having fun.
It's nice to finally send them some place they really, really want to go. Everyday they tell me of their adventures and it's usually done with excitement and pride in their camp. This makes me happy.