Nanny in NYC

A modern day Mary Poppins

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Summer Camp

Next week Sam and Jill head off to day camp in Westchester, NY and in a couple of weeks one of my former charges is leaving to go to a Canadian summer camp for three weeks. You know what? I am SO JEALOUS!! I loved camp when I was a kid, I loved camp when I was a counselor-in-training, and I'd be a counselor in a heartbeat if I could afford to now.

I first went to sleep-away camp the summer before third grade, so I was about 8 years old. My mother still talks about my first letter home, which went something like this
Dear Mom,
I am so miserable. I hate it here. The bugs are eating me alive. The food is terrible. I miss you a lot.
Love, Annie

P.S. I don't want to come home.

Slate has a great article up on their site right now about the idea of sending six-year-olds away to overnight camp and it's, surprisingly, pretty much for the idea. Apparently there has been a slow but steady increase over the past few decades of programs for 6 and 7-year-olds. One reason for the existence and popularity of these programs is that children that young actually have an easier time adjusting to camp-life and experience considerably less homesickness than children who go away for the first time at 10 or 11. Also, the perception of parents who send their children away to camp as being uninvolved or looking to off-load their kids so that they can have an affair or get a divorce or just run amok for a few weeks in the summer is pretty much entirely a myth. The parents who send their kids away to camp at a young age are overwhelmingly parents who loved camp as children, plain and simple.

Maybe by the time I have kids I'll be able to send them off by five!

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Blogger Trish said...

My parents thought it would be a good idea to make sure my camp was evangelical christian. Can you imagine? We weren't allowed to write letters unless they were to Jesus Christ.

4:40 PM  

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