Summer time can be hard for parents. I start thinking (read panicking) about what to do for summer in January. I look at my work calendar and try to figure out just what the heck I am going to do for 11 weeks. For the past few years Cody has done a combination of summer school and school funded programs. He has HATED summer because he never did anything fun. He would spend mornings in summer school and afternoons watching movies, or some other mindless task. This year, we decided to send him to a local day camp. It started the week after school let out and went until the end of August. The school programs basically just cover July, which leaves me still scrambling to find cover in August. The price, is obviously more than the state or school run camps, a lot more, which is why we never even considered it before. However, knowing he would be safe and happy for the whole summer was totally worth it. What really sold me though, was the team building. What really did it for me is the smile on my son’s face every single time I picked him.
Every morning we were out the door without a fuss. He never asked to come to work with me like he used to. He actually enjoyed going to camp. He made new friends, learned how to swim and play on a team. He is got a fair share of bumps and bruises (yes I am happy about those). He learned how to handle social situations, how to deal with disagreements, and how to stand up for himself. He learned tennis, swimming, basketball, softball, and other sports. When it rained they would either go on a field trip or do something cool inside in one of the adorable cabins. On Friday’s they would have something special, bouncy houses, giant (I mean GIANT) inflatable slides, talent shows and field days. They do arts and crafts and basically spent each and every day outside and playing with their peers.
He would come home exhausted. He came home happy. If the activities weren’t enough, if the sheer enjoyment on my sons face wasn’t enough, the people who run the camp and the counselors who somehow manage to keep all the kids entertained and happy are amazing! I mean AMAZING! The camp we sent him to has been family owned and operated since the 1960s. The lady who runs it knows each kid and parent by name. It takes a special person who really cares about what they are doing to remember every kid and their parents. She also happens to be one of the nicest people I have met. The counselors are so nice, energetic, supportive and creative. I can’t imagine a better day camp experience for my son.
There is a lot of research and talk about the summer slide, and how important it is for kids to continue their math, reading and writing. Honestly though, I feel like my son is more ready for school this year then he has ever been in previous years. He didn’t put one foot into school this summer, he didn’t go over math facts, or practice his handwriting. He read but it wasn’t logged or timed. Instead he smiled, he played, he explored, he grew, he made friends and he had the best summer so far. We can work a little harder in September if we need to, but I am so thankful we gave Cody an actual summer this year. The summer kids should have. And it was honestly all thanks to Sandy Hollow Day Camp. I hope to see them again next year.
After finishing this blog I asked Cody if he had fun this summer. Without prompting he said: YES! I loved camp and actually mom, I think I am ready for school. One happy mama right here.
If you are a local: Sandy Hollow Day Camp