When I was a little 10 year old growing up in Russia, the highlight of my summer was the summer camp my parents sent me to that year. Most kids would be gone for the summer at their grandparents’ summer homes or out to the country, and those kids who stayed in the city were left to either be bored indoors, or spending the hot days in the front yards playing with whoever was left in the city at that point. I remember spending weeks studying in the summer. Because I liked it, I loved reading books and I loved learning.
I also remember visiting my nephew’s kindergarten class and asking the teachers to allow me to be their TA and to play with the kids.
But my most fond memory were the camps. My dad’s work provided all kids of its employees with a month long camp, in the wilderness of Russia, among pine forests and crystal clear lakes. It was a strict camp, structured and based on discipline. We woke up at 7 am, we were taken to the morning exercise field immediately upon waking up (with morning exercise music blaring through the speakers). I clearly remember the crispy morning air and the smell of pines. We would march to the camp field and would all follow directions to begin our morning wellness program.
Somehow, not being a morning person, I didn’t mind the 7 am wake up that much. I was excited to start the day, see my friends and EAT. I loooved eating at the camp. Every day was something different and fun, because it wasn’t the food that I was used to at home, just different style. It was a part of the experience for me to try new foods and is somewhat responsible for me being open to variety of tastes and textures.
I remember times at the lake that we all so looked forward to. I remember specific schedules, classes, and trips, hikes, and a lot (A LOT) of laughter. I remember friendships made, I remember my camp counselors who played a big role in making my time at the camp enjoyable.
I also remember having bad experiences. Or one bad experience. My first week, during my first summer at camp, I was bullied by some girls. I remember dealing with it and then figuring it out and moving on and not letting that bad experience keep me from going to the camp the next year. Even though I did not want it, I wasn’t going to allow myself to be weak and wimp out.
I went to that same camp every summer for a month for 7 years until I was too old to go. After the first unfortunate experience, I had a second MUCH better year. I was still figuring things out and there were times where drama would arise. It was a CO-ED camp, so there was plenty of drama. Third year was amazing, fourth was even better, I day dreamed about summer and when I could go to camp. I begged my parents to send me for 2 months. It was the highlight of my summer, of the whole year. I was free, I was in the nature, there was routine, structure, people, socializing, learning, new experiences and challenges.
I also remember parents day. How fun it was to show my parents around for one day, the day they took a 4 hour train ride to a remote area to see what I had been up to. I also remember breaking rules, testing limits, exploring my abilities, becoming more confident, running the whole camp’s social scene, that’s all from that one little bullying experience that I had when I first started. The experience that did not stop me from coming back.
Why am I writing about this? Because as Lexi gets older, I am examining things I want and do not want for her. Camps can be scary for modern parents. Your kid going away and being alone somewhere where you cannot supervise them. But I still clearly remember the amazing experience I had, the unlimited growth potential that being at a camp gave me, the exploration of my personality, my abilities and the social maze.
So yes, my gut reaction when I think about Lexi at a summer camp is “YIKES”, as I AM a modern parent subconsciously afraid of everything. But I am also a parent who can step out of it and remember my own experience and a parent who, despite her own fears, can allow her 4 year old daughter to go on a tarzan line in Mexico and jump 30 feet high into the water because she said she can do it and she wants it.
I am yet to do any kind of research on camps for her as she is not of that age yet, but you bet your peaches, I am going to dig in and find a perfect camp for her when she is ready.
In the meantime, those of my readers who have boys, take a look at the BOYS ONLY camp Rockmont. We surely had nothing like that growing up but it looks exciting enough for me to want to magically transform into a 10 year old boy.
Camp Rockmont is a camp for boys in Asheville, North Carolina. This camp has everything a good camp should have. They’ve been offering camp there since 1956 so they know what they are doing.
- Through age appropriate challenges, boys will develop socially, mentally, and spiritually at Camp Rockmont.
- Fun Activities like zip lining, water slides, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, kayaking, music lessons and more.
- Optional adventure trips like one to go whitewater rafting will really build confidence and put bravery to the test.
- Parents don’t have to worry. The camp puts safety first, meeting the highest standards for health and safety. Camp Rockmont has been accredited by the American Camp Association since 1961. If needed, there is a health center open 24-7 and a hospital very close by.
Sign your son up for the experience of a lifetime at Camp Rockmont this summer! You can apply now online. There are several different options. Camps start in June. Camps vary in age (starting at age 6) and length(starting at 6 days). Rates range from $1,400 to $5,400.
I’m sure there are kids who dream of returning to camp all year long and ask to stay for longer each summer just like I did.
Do you have any kids going to camp this year? How did you know when you child was ready for camp?
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