I have spent the last 20+ years talking with families about why they should consider a long term sleepaway camp for their daughter. Despite my belief that the safety and opportunities afforded by sleepaway camp are more important than ever before, it is harder than ever for parents to imagine their children away from them and participating in a 4-week sleepaway camp experience.

Two summers ago it was time for me, as a parent, to “walk the walk” when considering options for my 7 year old son’s summer camp experience. We were not necessarily looking for a long term sleepaway camp opportunity for our then-1st grader but outside circumstances landed us there. He told us he felt ready for one week away but his dad and I felt if he thought he was ready for one, he was ready for more. After learning more about his camp, he was excited about the activities. It was not until after the information session and he said he wanted to go that we told him the length of time he’d be away. He shrugged. For kids that age, time is relative. When time came for him to meet the buses, he was teary, the night before he said he didn’t feel ready. And, he wasn’t the only teary one that night, sigh.

Naturally, I made his dad take him to meet his camp bus, 1. I needed to run our own camp and 2. I knew how hard it would be!

He loved camp. It was hard. There were days he missed us, there were days he didn’t want to get in the lake. And, he loved camp. He went back last summer and is signed up again for this summer.  We are so proud of this kid. He went to camp at an age that was really young, he did not know one other camper at the camp and he did it!

Last week we had a conference with his 3rd grade teacher. She shared that her students were recently tasked with writing a persuasive piece.  Caleb chose to write about why every kid should go to overnight camp. Talk about proud! So…hear it here, from a 3rd grader. Take it from him!!


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