It’s hard to believe that it’s already that time, but in less than 24 hours, parents, seeing your children’s faces and finding out what they’ve been up to will no longer involve hitting the refresh button. They’ll be with you, in the flesh. If you’ve been meaning to squeeze in one more date night before they get home, it’s tonight or bust. If you still have some programs backed up on your DVR, put on some comfy clothes, order takeout, and set your phone to vibrate. Tomorrow you will likely lose custody of the television remote to your overly enthusiastic daughters who know they have almost an entire season of Pretty Little Liars to catch up on.
But if this blog, so far, has you thinking of Googling “fall camps,” in less than 24 hours, you will also be hugging your children, gushing over arts & crafts projects, and hearing lots of very entertaining stories. For at least the next week, it’s almost a given that your children will begin almost every sentence with, “At camp…” Something at the supermarket will remind them of something that happened at camp. A commercial will remind them of something that happened at camp. A song will remind them of something that happened at camp. The list goes on. And that’s a good thing! It means that by sending your children to camp, you give them an experience in which they find great value. In spite of that occasional spat with friends that is over within a few blinks, the rare teary phone call home, and that letter complaining that they have too much of an activity they don’t love, campers LOVE camp. Every sing along, every special event, every meal, every athletic competition, and, yes, even those activities that are not their favorites (as well as those that are) supply moments and memories that they wouldn’t trade for any other summer experience because they’re moments spent with special friends at a special place. This, incidentally, is why your children might be a little bit red eyed when you meet the bus or pick them up at the airport tomorrow.
Every year, we exchange teary goodbyes just before the buses leave camp. Although everyone is excited to see their families, after two months of being together virtually 24/7, it’s difficult for campers to part from camp friends who they might not see again until next summer, or even beloved counselors who they might never see again. The people of Camp Starlight are a big reason that it is such a special place for so many people, which is why many of our campers and staff begin the countdown to next summer before the last bus has even left camp. As our theme for this summer goes: “We Take Care of Our Own.” So if this time next week you’re fairly convinced that your child has broken some sort of record for the amount of times it’s humanly possible to use the word “camp,” relax. There are only ten more months until next summer. Your children are likely already counting down. Make it a family thing and enjoy the fact that camp is a gift of which your children can’t get enough.