Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah!
When I was a kid, I went to Girl Scout Camp in the summer. I loved it, even if we only got to go for one week. Somehow, living in platform tents and using an outdoor shower and latrine were attractive when I was nine.
One summer I went to Church Camp for a week. I went with a dear friend and we had a blast. Things weren't quite as rustic as Girl Scout Camp, but still, it was CAMP.
In college, I was fortunate to live and learn vicariously through my campers as a counselor at Culver Woodcraft Camp. A program of the Culver Academies in northern Indiana, I was introduced to Woodcraft by a college friend who had attended as a child.
Although Woodcraft uses a military system of leadership, the best possible description I can offer to those unfamiliar with their programs is that it's like the summer camp on "The Parent Trap". It's a six-week residential summer camp where kids can do every activity from sailing to horseback riding to academic classes to sports and everything in between. The six summers I spent as a counselor were truly some of the best times of my life.
Although it's been 13 years since I worked at Woodcraft, I remember camp like it was yesterday, and have maintained friendships with so many of the other folks who worked there. I always thought "I'd love to be able to send my kids there some day", but quite frankly, to say a six week residential camp is not cheap would be the understatement of the century, so I'd pretty much written it off as a pipe dream.
Then last summer I took a quick trip out to camp for an impromptu reunion with some of my fellow former (and some still current!) staffers. One of them casually mentioned that I should apply for financial aid to send The Tweenager to camp.
Somehow it never occurred to me that all those kids at camp weren't paying full price. :)
So I applied. And when I say "I", I mean "we".
It truly was a full family process. The application for camp took significant participation from The Tweenager, and several recommendations from teachers and administrators. And the aid application rivaled any college aid application I've seen.
But in the end, it was all worth it.
This summer, The Tweenager will be spending six weeks away from home and (hopefully) loving it. He's very excited, and perhaps a bit nervous, but who wouldn't be. I never thought I could be one of "those moms", who sends her kid away for SIX WEEKS, but it's one of those experiences that simply cannot be passed up.
We'll miss him, no question. He'll get homesick, I'm sure. But in the end, he'll have opportunities that he'd never have at home. He'll meet friends from all over the world.
And he'll be at Culver Woodcraft Camp.
I'm more than a bit jealous. :)