Guest Blogger Campfire Girl: I spent the summers of my formative years (ages 12 to 18) wrapped in a sleeping bag in the dusty hills of Malibu, chasing boys and singing James Taylor songs. For me, the experience was awesome -- but sleepaway camp may not be for everyone.
Here's what you should know that isn't printed in the camp brochure:
When I first began going to camp in the late '80s, there was very little structure and even fewer rules. Much like a real-life version of "Wet Hot American Summer," we basically sat around braiding each other's hair, eating Popsicles and occasionally going swimming. As time went on, we were inundated with activities. We learned about social injustices, the ozone layer (hey, whatever happened to that ozone layer?) and how to shoot a target with a bow and arrow.
As teenaged campers, we also learned about sex. In between making lanyards and tie-dying T-shirts, we talked about "it" constantly, even though none of us had ever done "it".
But camp was not about any of those things. Cheesy as it sounds, camp was about making lifelong friendships. To this day, twenty-one years after my first summer, I have a close group of camp friends I am still in touch with, some of whom are living far away in foreign countries. And I haven't picked up a bottle of ozone-depleting Aqua Net since.
Here are some pros and cons about sending your kids to camp:
Pro: Your kids will learn to live independently from you!
Con: Your kids will spend weeks being dirty and sticky and sweaty. And guess what: They will probably love it!
Pro/Con: Your kids will probably have their first awkward makeout at camp.
Pro: They will end up being friends with that person on Facebook fifteen years later.
Pro: Your city-slicker kids will learn about nature -- and hopefully, to love it.
Con: Camp food is notoriously awful.
Pro: Most camps don't allow Internet, video games or cell phones.