My children are growing up! My boys actually went away to sleepover camp for just under 2-weeks earlier this summer and that marked the first time my middle son was away from us for longer than one day. My oldest son had been away for a weekend at camp but never anything this long. I think we worried more than they did, to be honest.
We got them ready for camp at the end of last summer but talking about it a lot, and spending considerable amounts of time speak with different camps and upon deciding on Camp Arowhon we then spent 304 more months getting them ready and buying the stuff they needed for their stay.
We chose Camp Arowhon because of the owner, Joanna Kates’ views on bullying. She has a zero-tolerance policy and she also carefully chooses councillors and who attends the camp. It almost felt like we had to get the go ahead nod before we wrote that cheque and there were times when I was not sure we were going to be allowed to send our kids there.
In the end it was all worth while as the kids loved it there. They rode horses, sailed, learned to canoe, paddle their own kayak and most importantly they grew up.
Another wonderful feature about Arowhon is the 100% ban on electronics. If it’s found, it’s taken away for good. Not just for the campers but also for the councillors too. Kids are there for fun, sun and learning, not for video games, texting and other electronic things. The camp also does not have a parents day, there are no pictures on the website and if kids and parents wish to communicate it’s through hand-written letters. We actually received 7 letters from our kids and sent 3 of them That was a lot of fun too.
And the food… The food was great according to my kids. My middle son even went as far as to say that the soup was
better as good as the soup Mummy makes. Joanne, if you were not aware, is the food critic for The Globe and Mail newspaper – has been for 25-years – so if anyone knows anything about good food, it’s Joanne.
So with our boys away for 12 days, we were left with our daughter – her first time as an only child – we were experiencing new and different things, so here are 13 things that happened / we did / while our sons were having the time of their lives at camp.
So sit back, grab the bug spray, leave the iPod at home, slap on the sun-screen and get read for the list!
- For the first time in her little life, our daughter had us all to her self, and she did not leave us alone for a second. It was amazing getting to spend so much time with her, not having to share that attention with her brothers and not having to compete with them for our time. Plus she’s still at that age where by 7pm she’s exhausted and ready for bed! .
We hopped in the car and made a run for the border – crossing at Niagara Falls (no line up whatsoever) and even after being questions over and over again as to why we were heading across on a Friday morning) we went, shopped, slept, shopped some more and slide back into Canada (only one car in front of us) without a hitch..
We took apart the kids bedrooms and put them back together again… Cleaner, with much less junk, and in a manner which we expect them to keep it in for at least one day when they get back.
The garden grew! Raspberries (red ones, purple ones and golden ones), green beans, yellow beans, currents… They all made an appearance and we eaten. Yum.
9. We slept in. All of us. By sleeping in, I mean past 6am. 7am is about the latest I’ve slept in the last 8-years. But 7:30am was an absolute dream!
- My wife and I went out… together.. on a date. I figures since we actually had to speak to each other for 12 days, it might be nice to take advantage of the relative calm and go out. You know what happened, folks… By 9pm we were exhausted. But we trooped, stayed out until 11pm, then went home to sleep.
We got caught up on laundry. We washed everything! Comforters, duvets, everything because we knew once camp was over and the house was back to 5 people, we would never catch up.
I got to bed early… Twice. Early for me used to be 11pm, but I’ve been finding that since I started my own business I never stopped having enough to do around the house, so early quickly became 2am. I actually got in to bed at 9pm one night and by 10:30 another night. Amazing.
5. I was outnumbered… In more than one way. Aside from being one male to two females, many long-time readers will recall that my wife kept her last name when we got hitched, and before we had kids we agreed that any boys we had would take my last name, and any girls would take her last name. I was in the minority.
- My oldest son returned with the new-found ability to play the guitar. As a matter of fact, the day after he arrived home, he asked me this; “Daddy, is that Sweet Home Alabama playing on the radio?” Then he said; “I can play that on the guitar!” Sweet!
3. My middle child learned to horseback ride and he loved it!! Who knew?!?
2. My boys grew up. They just seemed so different. My oldest son did not want to come home – he wanted to stay for a couple more weeks (even wrote a letter to us which arrived the day after he came home saying “send more envelopes! I’m staying for 2 more weeks, and tell my sister I love her and I miss her.” My younger son, clearly no longer worried about spending time away from home seemed older, more relaxed, and cooler. Camp did him well.
As someone who never went to camp – I started working full-time in the summers when I was 14-years-old so I could buy plastic goalie pads for our street hockey games, I kept it up and paid for University. Camp would have been nice, but University was better. Now that I see how the kids have changed after just 12 days away, I wonder what it will be like next summer after a month away, and if this is the beginning of the kids independence.
- We missed them! Not at first and not always but in those moments when the chaos slows down and we get to breathe, live, relax and look around we realize what a huge part of our lives those children have become and we miss having them around to share with, listen to and teach.
Now they’re back and we get to talk about camp next year! 2 weeks or 1 month…
Thursday Thirteen: You’re turn!
Did you go to camp as a kid? What did you like the most and what did you hate? If you did not, what did you do instead?