The Joys and Challenges of Being a Camp Parent

Believe it or not, we have just passed the halfway point of the 2019 season.  We continue to learn from the beginning of the summer, look forward to making the most of the second half of the summer, and strive to live in the moment.  As we prepare to welcome parents and guests this weekend, we are able to share in the roller-coaster of emotions that is Visiting Day as camp parents.

We were lucky enough to have an amazing phone call with our 9-year-old son who is away at boys camp about ten days ago.  It was hard to maintain our pride after he happily hung up and went on his way.  When going through the mail, we are so excited to see the conspicuous handwriting of our son.  One sentence requesting a few items, and another stating that he misses us “sooooooooo much”.  Of course our minds wonder, “Is he just missing us, like ‘normal’ missing us? Is everything okay?”  We know that his camp would let us know if he was really struggling, and even as a camp director in those very shoes, it is still impossible not to wonder.

A few days later we see a picture of him smiling and breathe a sigh of relief.  There is no question that parenting trends, expectations and pressures have changed over the past ten to fifteen years.  Perhaps it stems from the variety of social pressures that exist through constant and increasing interconnection and choices.  Being a camp parent presents opportunities to rise above that pressure and it can let kids escape that pressure altogether…if we let them.

Kyle, Paxton (9), Cameron (5) and Emily on Vega’s Derby Day, July 14, 2019.

We experienced a few hours of our “visiting day” last weekend.  Our son came to Vega for our brother/ sister/cousin Derby Day, when area camps send relatives to spend the afternoon with us.  We know better than to berate him with questions, but nonetheless we still do and intently listen to every word and tone inflection.  While his reports were all positive, and he even said he had a close friend, we didn’t know if he would answer “yes” if we asked him if he wanted to stay and play for a few extra hours…or days.  

The afternoon ended so quickly and while we were clinging on for one last hug he was worried about missing the bus.  We knew a quick goodbye was best and didn’t let him see us get emotional (remember your sunglasses!) as we were filled with wonder, pride, and that whirlwind of emotions that you will experience very soon. 

We are fortunate to stay busy helping everyone here at camp in hopes of making you proud of your girls.  As their summer parents, we can say without question that everyone of you should be, and will be, so incredibly proud!  Safe travels and see you soon!