Wednesday, March 07, 2007


(Heads up: children briefly mentioned)

We hit an agreement last night, husband and I, to talk about camps, etc. and do it calmly. He says that he just wants to be more involved with planning this stuff, and it isn't a personal slight in regards to my previous efforts.

I have to say I'm not sure I believe that, but I'm willing to allow the possibility. He also agreed that our little guy is way to young and not ready for overnight camp, and that sleepaway camps can be researched...a few weeks at one with indoor plumbing and a doctor some where close is more reasonable for the 10 year old to start at than roughing it in the bush. (And yes, 2 weeks is the minimum around here for sleepaway camps, except for weekender trips.)

But, as I told someone in an email, my biggest problem is that kids are cut off from their parents. No phoning and no contact allowed. Supposedly this is to prevent homesickness, but I think that is BS. A friend who was a camp counsellor once mentioned to me that really it was so they could get some time "to undo all the damage parents do to their kids before they have to go back." Yes, really. He laughed about it and said it was common knowledge.

Now don't get me wrong, I know there are neurotic parents & kids out there, but WTF are these camp people to imply that we ALL are bad parents? Like they are SO perfect. Plus, the lack of contact means that unlimited bullying & abuse can occur and creeps who want to get to kids can screen all their calls and prevent them from getting help. Yes, it can occur in people's homes too, but that's why I'm in favour of kids having lots of outside contact with adults they trust like teachers and daycare workers and extended family. That way, a kid always has someone to turn to.

In a closed environment, like a camp or a residential school or a boarding school, where unmonitored contact with the outside world is forbidden or technically impossible, history has shown that terrible things can happen. Will they? Probably not...maybe highly unlikely these days...but I'd like to wait to take the chance until my kid is about a foot taller and aheck of a lot stronger and maybe even a little older.

Trouble is, just talking about it out loud makes me sound like a paranoid nutcase who wants to prevent my kids from getting some fresh air and seeing some wilderness. And I'm not...seriously.

But at least blogging about it has let me write out my fears and put them in some sort of articulate order. *Sigh* Now if I could just say them outloud to my husband without stammering...

Off to research camps and deal with today's hockey tournament.


  1. You don't sound paranoid, you sound cautious- and that's a good thing! I did a lot of research before settling on the camp my oldest son has attended for the past 2 summers. Some of the best information came from older kids that we know who have attended and loved this camp for years. You should also be able to speak to the Camp Director and find out exactly what sort of procedures they have in place if a child should become injured, ill etc...

    At our son's camp, phone calls home were discouraged and reserved for emergencies but the capability was absolutely there. We were also able to send him emails, and of course the usual letters and care packages, and he wrote to us.

    I would also highly encourage finding him a buddy to go with, and finding a camp that allows them to be together (some camps are weird about letting kids be with their friends). My son has always gone with several friends and they have been in the same cabin together. I think that is not only reassuring when staying away from home, but just like everywhere else, there is safety in numbers!

  2. Just wanted to say hi, missed you :)


  3. No contact? That seems a bit extreme. I could see discouraging it, but not disallowing it. That would scare the crap out of me. Guess I'll need to get rid of those paranoid nutcase urges of my own.

  4. Mmmnnn, that would probably make me nervous too. Honestly, they SHOULD be able to talk to their parents? You're not a nutcase, understandably cautious, these day you have to be don't you?

  5. You are not paranoid, you are a loving, concerned, good mom. You want to make sure your kids are safe. You are the kind of mom the world needs more of.

  6. I don't think you are paranoid at all - just cautious and with good reason. As another alternative, what about Boy Scouts? It would be a commitment through the year for weekly meetings for the boys, but that would enable you and your boys to know the other boys and the Leaders throroughly before they go on a summer Scout camp. This may not be for you, but it could be another possibility.

    Also, how about you and your husband going on a camping/kayaking/hiking trip with the boys? That way you all get to enjoy the wilderness fun together. The more options to consider the better, in my view.

    As another aside (and then I'll shut up!), I went to boarding school at 11 (and enjoyed it most of the time) BUT we went home for a compulsory weekend every 3 weeks. I would say 11 is the minimum age a child would cope with an extended trip away from family, and I would recommend a maximum of 2-3 weeks duration. And I wouldn't send a child of mine to any camp that wouldn't allow phoning home at all - sometimes you just need to hear a voice from home and then its fine. Go with your instincts on this one.

  7. hey thanks for stopping by my blog. im not sure which post you are referring to?

  8. oh yeah I got on a serious rant there! I deleted it, cause i'm still kinda nervous at times posting certain the baby liam link came and i thought that was a better one. but thanks, it's nice to know someone out there is hearing me.


  9. Yes, Erika, I am hearing you, and you should leave it up next time. It's good stuff, really!

  10. Hi there,

    Was told to pop by and say Hi! New to blogland and unfortunately not so new to infertility...looking forward to making some new friends...heading for Medicated IUI #2 in April...

  11. I also don't think you are being paranoid. I call it being "parental". I would not allow my kids at that age to go somewhere that I couldn't have contact with them and/or that they could not get ahold of us. There is plenty of time later in life for them to separate when they are ready, at their pace, and much more safely. I'd sooner they went camping with a family or families I knew and trusted; or took them camping myself with friends of theirs. When the kids are older and are not as influenced by other kids (yeah, like when? I know), when they have a more solid sense of self and are a bit more assertive, then it could be a great experience. I don't think a kid is going to get over homesickness in a one week camping trip. I remember leaving home for the first time when I joined the Navy. It took me about six months to get over a profound feeling of homesickness. But that was, perhaps, just me.