Parents: I don’t know about you, but deciding where to send my kids for summer camp had to have been an easier choice for my folks than it’s been for me.
There was the Jewish camp or the very Jewish camp. I started out at the former and ended up at the latter.
Today, there are so many choices of where to send kids it’s not funny.
When I was a kid at camp, there was sailing and fishing and hiking and all kinds of sports and campfires and singing and, yep, more singing.
Now, there are camps not just aimed specifically for music or sports, but for particular kinds of music and for particular kinds of sports; like baseball or golf.
Reviewing all the choices is overwhelming.
It seems that everywhere I turn some establishment is offering up some kind of a camp. Every school’s gotten into the year-round enrollment for kids by calling their summer school “camp”. (Some are sending their little ones to the same place they’ve been going all year, but now we’re supposed to call it “camp.”)
I’m sure that other establishments with an entrepreneurial eye will catch on soon enough too. I’m just waiting for supermarkets to start their own camp. I can see it now. After we drop our kids off at produce, they can learn how to hang off the carriage without falling, learn how to ice cakes and the older ones can slice cold cuts. For sports, they can all run around the aisles.
When I was a kid, camps built character. But today, we shouldn’t let political correctness get in the way of business and profiteers joining in the camp craze. Why not have camps reflect our society in all its forms?
Let’s see who really has the bucks to fund all the fun at a camp. How about gas station camp—Camp Texaco. Kids can learn how to pump petro, learn proper squeegee techniques, check oil and tire pressure. And all with a convenience counter right in arm’s length where they can eat hot dogs and Krispy Kreme Donuts and drink right from the soda fountain.
When I was a kid, camp was about playing outside, exercising, swimming and baseball.
Today, like everything else in life, camp is so specialized and focused around a few trees; parents don’t even realize our kids are missing the forest.
Most of the choices we find is a race towards specialization, now deemed so necessary to succeed in adult life, paper-mâchéd onto our children’s lives.
As a kid, I probably learned more about life in the two months spent at camp, than the entire school year. A universe of experiences, along with great counselors (heroes I could look up to) and friends whom I still Facebook with, helped give me that gift.
Desperately seeking summer, I’m close to where the spirits of camp past once lived. Hopefully, standing where the long road begins as I wave goodbye, while sending them off on their overnight journey, they will capture the flag that once flew for me.
It will be hard, as in the back of my mind I’ll be sure to hear the immortal lyrics of Alan Sherman’s diddy, “Hello Muddah Hello Faddah. Take me home, oh muddah, faddah. Take me home.”