Every August, days grow shorter. And it’s not just hours of daylight. The time between now and the end of camp gets compressed too. Each night, the end of a magical summer draws closer.
Finally, we all go home. It’s a bittersweet time for everyone. Packing seems so final.
But not everything a camper brings home fits in a duffel. Certain things are impossible to stow.
Independence. Your child may have been gone for a month or two….but he or she comes home more than several weeks “older.” Away from parents, siblings, familiar teachers and hometown friends, campers gain a sense of independence that serves as an important springboard for the coming year.
Skills and confidence. Kayaking. Acting. Tent-putting-up. Lacrosse. Stand-up Paddleboarding. Your child returns home with a bag full of new tricks. She may not kayak again until next summer, and he might not try out for the school play. But every September, campers know they can do things they never thought possible way back in June.
Friendships. It can be strange hearing stories about youngsters you don’t know well. Suddenly your child talks about other towns, schools and states. Your cell bill may include calls all over the country. Camp is a great way to make new friends. And those friendships are far deeper and real than anything on Facebook.
Relationships. More than friendships, campers develop real relationships. Living together 24/7, they develop bonds – and not just with peers. Campers live with and learn from young adults, and older directors. The unhurried pace of camp life nurtures many strong relationships.
Strong bodies and a healthy glow. Sure, kids wear hats and sunscreen. But nothing beats summer days, spent in the water and out of doors.
Memories. You can’t stow memories in luggage. You can’t ship them home. But they belong to every camper, and they’ll never be lost.