Summer Camp: Money, Well… Spent

As a parent, I’m far beyond ready for the kids to go back to school. This is ridiculous. The only people happy about these extended breaks are teachers (whom I respect and support) and Summer Camp Counselors (who usually are teens just killing time for $12/hr and it shows). Everyone else who loves it are either over-joyed, under-lied Youth Pastors or childless couples with tons of vacation time to burn.

This Summer has been the campiest, busiest one we’ve had in a while, for unconventional reasons. My wife has gone back in school to finish a degree in Interior Design, and she’s getting A’s! The earlier classes she’s been in are hands-on art-heavy classes, and as the self-labeled “creative one” in the family, I’m waaaay behind her and my older son’s art work this Summer. I think I might have come up with a new joke about my car looking like a crime scene, but overall it’s been a fallow Summer for me.

Busy-ness-wise, we’ve played more mini-golf than usual, which I love. I love putt-putt! GUILTY QUEEEEEEN! Or whatever people say to be “whatever” about stuff. My kids are about to wrap up their 3rd Summer camp of the season, and then we’re done. Over $2K spent for 3 weeks of the following experiences:

  1. Mini-golf – playing on 3 courses in 4 days, so they doubled-up, half-day camp
  2. Soccer – skills were at the lowest skill-level of campers, so we didn’t really get better, half-day camp
  3. Piano – they learned a few scales and such but overall didn’t learn much, half-day camp
  4. Flag football – both kids played on championship-level teams in the Spring so this was NOT a camp of “betterment” and some other issues I’ll address in a sec, half-day camp
  5. Flag football/Soccer/Baseball camp – This is the final week happening right now. So far I’ve heard they have to hit off a tee, haven’t run any particular plays, and haven’t worked on any soccer skills. All day in the heat and they’re looking rough.

So what’s the gripe? I’d like to know that when they go to camps that they come home with some skills other than “finding which kids have untethered ADHD” and “not being that impressed with the camp.” I can’t blame them; these are all run through local churchy organizations or sporty spots, but nothing super-focused on THE ELITE LEVEL OF CONDITIONING YOUR ELEMENTARY AGE CHILDREN! But for the love of laziness, some of these camps aren’t even trying.

I know this is a very “white” complaint, believe me. I try to not throw the “guilt-quilt” over any of the kids’ experiences – “Well, I never got to do cool Learn To Cast Spells camps when I was a kid because my parents were lazy asses” – because it’s not their fault if the camp isn’t killing it. If nothing else, they’re getting a lot of exercise, plenty of bath time at night, and they’ve been crashing hard at night. But I get that they don’t love Summer Camp. There are others we tried to get into, turns out those suck, too.

Our friends sent their kids to a week-long NERF Battle Camp, with blasters and swords and such. I hosted a birthday party like this once and it was a shitfire. Everyone getting shot in the face or up-close, darts to the junk, total chaos. And that camp report was “Lame. There was only one day of Capture The Flag.” I hear ya. Every day of life is capturing flags, young ‘in.

When I was 10, I went to this ridiculous horse riding/pool/craft camp for 3 of the 5 days I was supposed to. On day 3, one of the counselors – a guy in his mid-30’s with a cigarette behind his ear and severely receding hairline – called me “fatso” on front of the whole camp, and I was like “F*ck this guy.” If you’re trashing the kids of the parents who pay for what’s probably your work-release program, there’s not a lot else I can do at 10 to thrash your day-to-day. Not sure what happened to that guy. I’m sure the police were involved.

But sending kids to camp puts them in somewhat unfamiliar situations, which you can help them grow in to working at. Learning to adapt and go with the flow in a different place is about 50% of life’s requirement of success. The others include being attractive and having some sort of water craft. When I hear parents say they have “nothing” planned for their kid’s Summer, I’m astounded, if they aren’t traveling a lot. Or if the kid’s secretly a SuperHero. But I doubt the kid’s saving lives and stopping MegaVillains when they keep putting their shoes on the wrong feet and pinching their ween instead of just going to the restroom. Leaving a kid to do “nothing”  during the Summer is just lazy. I understand there are financial barriers for some families. If there aren’t, a kid at home all Summer is basically just a dormant seed waiting to bloom into the same flower that left school in June.

At least put a golf club in their cheese-powdered hands for a week, get some putting work in.

About Geoff Lott

Geoff Lott is a "thinking person's comedian" as much as a "drinking person's comedian." Born and raised near Seattle, his writing and comedy is Cloudy with a Chance of Hope. Less offensive than your average nightly news program, Geoff is opinionated with intent, and a rebel without a clause. A comedian, actor, dad, husband, co-worker, weirdo, and great friend, Geoff Lott has a sense of humor like a sommelier's sense of smell; aged well, with a hint of dark chocolate, Irish whiskey, and leather. Credits and press kit available upon request!
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