This week we will all be singing Alice Cooper’s “Schools out for Summer”, kids will be throwing their school books in the air and the holidays will officially begin!
I remember the mixed feelings I had when that final bell went off. Sad to say goodbye to school mates but so grateful to put the school work to rest and just be a kid for a couple of months. No responsibilities and no deadlines.
Growing up I did wish I could lounge around the house all day, play at the park, hit the candy store but we weren’t raised like that.
My parents both worked and they had to keep my brother and I busy.
The best solution that my folks could come up with was to send us to summer camps. We went to a couple of YMCA day camps but the most memorable one for me was the Loeffler Family’s overnight camp outside of Kitchener Ontario, We were only allowed to speak German at this camp.
I had lots of anxiety about going to camp and meeting new kids. For most of my childhood I was a wallflower, clung to my Mommy and cried some nights wishing that my Mom, Dad, brother and I could just escape to the cottage until September.
I credit these summer camp experiences for turning me into the outgoing human I am today.
Here are the most important things I learned at summer camp:
- Never feel uncomfortable in a bathing suit! Find one you like because you are going to wear it all summer long!
- Your imagination is your most valuable asset. Lose yourself in a book, paint and get messy, build houses for elves in the magical forest (trust me, the elves WILL leave you chocolates on the last day of camp).
- 1,000 piece puzzles and rug hooking projects on a rainy day is what taught me patience and showed me that no matter what Mother Nature was doing outside there was never any reason to be bored.
- Respect nature, milk the goats, gather the eggs and shovel the poop. As my little brother remarked early one cool morning: ”That’s the first time I’ve ever seen mist on Mist” (Check out Google Translate for that meaning). The animals and the land will take care of you, when you take care of them.
- Sing as loud as you can around a bon fire, add in some clapping and you are an instant rock star . . . kinda like singing in the shower.
I am grateful for my childhood and I’m always happy when I see kids who want to play outside with other kids. They are socializing and learning how to build relationships outside of the family unit. They are experiencing new things and will feel inspired by other kids and those kids will be motivated by them as well.
The magic and mystery of the great outdoors is especially wondersome at Summer Camp. Get your kids to unplug and enjoy. Who they eventually become might be completely unexpected.