Like most mothers after school ended, I was in a conversation with a mother who has a daughter the same age as my own. She asked what my daughter was doing for the summer and I mentioned that she was going to overnight camp. “For how long?” she asked.
“For a month,” I answered.
This woman’s mouth dropped as if I just said, “I hate my daughter. I also have genital herpes.” (Which I don’t.) She then added that she could never send her 9-year-old to overnight camp for two reasons and I’m not sure which reason was more ridiculous. The first reason was that her daughter didn’t know how to shower on her own yet, so how could she possibly send her to overnight camp? The second reason was, “I’m not ready for her to be gone that long from me.”
Uh? I wanted to say, “Well, you may not be ready, but she probably is.” In fact, I wanted to say, “She probably would really enjoy some time away from you if you think she still needs help bathing.”
But I bit my tongue. Truthfully, I don’t give a shit if you send your kid to overnight camp or not, but I do care about pathetic reasons behind not sending your kid to overnight camp (Money is a good reason to NOT send your kids to camp. She doesn’t know how to shower is not.)
When my daughter first went away to overnight camp, two years ago, I too was worried about her showering and changing her clothes. Guess what? She came back off the bus wearing the exact same outfit she wore on the bus when she left for camp, her hair was a mess as if she hadn’t once brushed it, and I highly doubt she showered more than once every two weeks. I couldn’t even smell her when she hugged me. When she did, I think I pulled away and I said something like, “My god. I missed you. But you smell like garbage!”
We went home and I immediately put her in the shower. Her feet were so black that the water turned black as well. Oh well. I suppose one of the beauty of overnight camp is that you don’t have your mother screaming, “You have to take a shower!”
As for, “I’m not ready for my daughter to be gone that long from me!” Well, neither was/am I! I miss her terribly when she’s gone. But, I hate to tell you this parents who “aren’t ready,” but your children probably are. I realize that not all kids love overnight camp, but what they learn at overnight camp is priceless.