Friday, August 1, 2014


Today’s camp was a compromise. First we went for a hike and a picnic around Lake Redman and then we went to the movies, and finished with a hilarious game of ping pong (in which the camp director was pinged and ponged as she sat nearby writing this). See? Everybody gets what they want. 

I must confess that I'd hoped for more participation and more nature in our week, but I'm learning that as my kids get older, they find spending time with Mom and the natural world less magical and more of an ordeal they must endure if they want a ride to their friend's house. I know we are incredibly lucky to live on our beautiful hillside, but sometimes I think my kids take this privilege for granted. For instance, we have three horses that spend most of their days as lawn ornaments because my children have no interest in riding. Yet, thousands of kids squander every birthday wish and falling star hoping for a horse of their own. I worry that until my kids no longer have constant access to woods and fresh air and animals they won’t appreciate what they have. But maybe that’s the way it’s always been.

Enough parental angst, back to camp. 

This morning everyone needed a little space of their own and the start of camp was delayed. One camper communed with his computer, another with her book, and I spent the morning in my much neglected garden. By the time we’d packed our lunch and set off on our day, we were all in better spirits than yesterday. There may be such a thing as camp-burnout.

We had a wonderful hike around Lake Redman.
There were butterflies.

And Lilly pads.

And rocks to throw at the Lilly pads

And there were spiders!

We at a picnic lunch on the edge of the lake and tossed goldfish crackers to the fish. (One camper worried that this made the fish cannibals.)

After we’d had our fill of nature we headed to the Dollar Theater which isn’t really a dollar but is still a great deal. Luckily there was a movie that pleased all ages and stages - Earth to Echo. 

Obviously, this is what all the cool camps do because the theater was nearly filled with campers from another local day camp. They had t-shirts and a banner on their bus. I was informed that if I made t-shirts or a banner for our camp at least one camper would NOT be returning next year.

Speaking of next year’s camp, while hiking today we came up with an idea. Next summer we’re going to try Once a Week Camp. We’ll pick a day each week to have camp. This will lessen the pressure on the camp director and the stress on the campers. It will also allow us to schedule around dentist appointments and choose days when our selected activities are most feasible. For example, we really wanted to visit the Wolf Sanctuary in Lititz today, but it was only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It occurs to me that Once a Week Camp might be something a working parent could pull off, too.

We had a great time this week. Maybe it wasn’t “real” camp as one camper lamented, but it was real time. It was time spent intentionally together exploring our town and our community. 
We got to enjoy nature, 
created some beautiful stuff, 
learned a little, 
and had a lot of fun. 
Isn’t that what camp is all about?

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