The following excerpt comes from the Washington Post, brought to us by writer Laura Clydesdale. As big fans of summer camp, we love what she has to say here!
“Do you even like your children?” the woman I had just met asked me.
The audacity of the question took my breath away. I had been chatting with her, explaining that my kids go to sleep-away camp for two months every year.
I quickly realized two things at once: She was obnoxious, and she actually didn’t care if I missed my kids during the summer. She was talking about something else.
I didn’t have to tell her the reason I “send them away” for most of the summer is because I like them. They adore camp, and it’s actually harder on me than it is on them. I often tell people that the first year they were both gone, it felt like I had lost an arm. I wandered around the house from room to room experiencing phantom limb pain.
Now, instead of being offended, I got excited.
I was going to be able to tell her something that my husband and I rarely get to explain: We do it because we truly think it will help our kids be successful in life. With under-employment and a stagnating labor market looming in their future, an all-around, sleep-away summer camp is one of the best competitive advantages we can give our children.
Surely, college admissions officers aren’t going to be impressed with killer friendship bracelets or knowing all the words to the never-ending camp song “Charlie on the M.T.A.” Who cares if they can pitch a tent or build a fire?
Indeed, every summer my kids “miss out” on the specialized, résumé-building summers that their peers have. Their friends go to one-sport summer camps and take summer school to skip ahead in math. Older peers go to SAT/ACT prep classes. One kid worked in his dad’s business as an intern, while another enrolled in a summer program that helped him write all his college essays.
Many (this woman included) would say that I’m doing my children a serious disservice by choosing a quaint and out-of-date ideal instead. There are online “Ivy League Coaches” that might say we are making a terrible mistake.
We don’t think this is a mistake at all. It might not be something to put on the college application (unless my child eventually becomes a counselor), but that isn’t the goal for us.
Check out the rest of her insightful article here!