I’m quite looking forward to some staff posts in the next few days that will outline some of the amazing things that parents can do to prepare their children for camp and I’m so sure that they will be chock full of wisdom that I thought a counter-perspective might be in order, just to get the ball rolling. So here they are, in no particular order of heinousness.
Tell them that they need to wear mosquito spray or they will contract West Nile Disease of malaria and that they need to shower after swimming or they will get swimmers itch (incidentally caused by little parasites on the skin) and that they had better not drink the water or they will get Beaver Fever and poop their brains out. These are all true facts, but not necessarily great conversations for the hesitant child.
Tell your kids that we couldn’t find enough counsellors but not to worry because there is a penitentiary close to the camp and some of the inmates needed community service hours. As a bonus make sure you point out where it is on the way to camp.
Tell your highly allergic child that there won’t be any nuts in the food in the dining hall, but that you aren’t certain the cabins will be nut free (referring to his counsellors and cabin mates). This is not the time for lighthearted puns.
Tell your child that he’ll be having so much fun that you feel bad for your other kids, so you have a week of insane activities planned just so they won’t miss him quite as much.
Tell your child that you will die of loneliness every night wishing they were back sleeping in your bed. Where, incidentally, they probably spent the first 8 years of their life. Then let them know you have special notes for them to read each night that will remind them of how desperately sad you are and how you anticipate life to suck without them (but make sure you add that you sure hope they are enjoying themselves…at least more than you are). As a side note if you do actually write notes like this chances are good that your child IS enjoying themselves more than you. Just saying.
Tell your kids that bears won’t attack kids that shower because they can’t smell them. This might be incentive to shower, if only they didn’t have to walk in the dark to the washrooms at night.
Tell them that their grandma and grandpa will be picking them up from the bus because you will be at the lake. Proceed to tell them that you needed to convince grammy and grandad to do the pick-up because they really wanted to be in Saskatchewan on the weekend, but that they are super awesome because they are so sacrificial!
Tell them that the camp FINALLY installed air conditioning into the cabins last fall and then this really funny thing happened and mice took up residence in the units and all died over the winter and now when they fire it up it smells like a mixture of burnt fur and rotting rodent.
Tell them those warm memories from when you were at camp as a kid and your camp director had to be air lifted out after a vicious attack from a Jackfish that left him missing a few fingers.
Tell them that homesickness is for sissies and there is no way on God’s green earth that you are going to pick them up after spending a truckload of money for them to go to camp, so they had better not even bother to call, you won’t answer.
There you have it! I think if you avoid these ten common mistakes that parents make AND if you read Monique’s blog on Wednesday your kids should be in good shape to enjoy their time at camp this summer!