As the mom of a kid who has been attending the same summer day camp for the past four years, I'm really starting to wonder if he's going to reach a point where it's not quite enough for him. And that's why even though he's only 7, I've been contemplating whether or not he'll be ready for sleep-away camp in the next couple of years.
I'd probably only be willing to send him for a week or two, but still -- being away overnight like that is a pretty big step. And if I wasn't already nervous enough about taking that leap, I heard about camps banning parents from sending care packages because they're usually filled with junk food and also ignite jealousy among campers who don't receive them. Huh. That makes sense -- so I'm sure you're wondering what the big deal is.
Well, I should probably mention that some parents are refusing to follow the rules and are basically smuggling goodies to their little campers and ruining all the fun for everyone.
Yep. They're hiding treats in hollowed out books and such -- and creating a whole new host of problems because campers know the care packages are banned. Some of the kids still get them, so you can only imagine how crappy they feel when their parents follow the rules like decent human beings and they wind up getting the shaft.
And now I might have to totally rethink sending my son off to sleep-away camp with the realization that this kind of nonsense goes on there.
First of all, it's a bit disheartening to think about him going and me not being able to send him a little care package to remind him of how much we miss him at home (though we hope he's having the time of his life). Care packages are a way to stay connected to our kids when they are away, so it's such a shame that some camps can't allow them anymore.
And since I tend to be a rule follower (most of the time), I highly doubt I'd send my son a package if I knew it was something the camp was against. But then I picture him calling me up in tears because some other kids in his bunk got boxes full of love and sugar and asking me why he was the only one who didn't have anything fun come in the mail -- and I just want to scream.
(Parents really suck sometimes.)
I guess all I can do is hope that when and if my son does go off to camp, the one I choose will have figured out some sort of system that works for everyone. You can't ban care packages altogether -- but then still let kids have them when they show up. That just doesn't make sense and isn't fair to anyone.
Here's an idea, how about giving parents a list of what can and cannot be sent -- and then opening packages and checking them when they arrive before giving them to the campers? Sure, it's sad for it to come to that, but how else are they going to get around it?
It's not rocket science. Either make a rule and strictly enforce it or be prepared for parents to find a way to break it.
Is your child at sleep-away camp? Have you sent care packages?
Image via JoeinSouthernCA/Flickr