This is going to be a milestone summer. This is the first summer in which both my girls will attend sleep-away summer camp. The first word that explodes in my mind is “freedom” — for them and me. As excited as I am to have some time to tackle a few projects at home, to read a book and to write my memoirs, I am more excited for them. Having the opportunity to leave home, live in a cabin with girls from all over the US and to have true independence is the chance of a lifetime.
Gwynn Valley is the camp of choice for my 8 and 11 year old. We have planned for this since last summer and I will soon get my list of everything they will need to have while they are away. I learned from last year, when my eldest attended camp, to send an ample amount of play clothes and bathing suits. I sent soap and shampoo but I am not sure she actually used it because swimming in the lake is a bath, right?
What’s really cool about this camp is that there are not any electronics but there is ample access to nature. There is a farm where the campers pick vegetables that they will eat that evening, there is a water wheel that grinds the corn into meal and powers the ice cream churns (ice cream from the cows that were milked on property, of course.)
The camp also offers skits, crafts, kayaking, zip lining, tree climbing, horseback riding, archery, fishing, mountain bikes and all the delicious, gooey smores that a kid can eat. The true beauty of camp, however, is the independence your child gains, the “can do” attitude that emerges, and how they return to you so grown up.
To know that these places exist in SC’s backyard of NC is truly amazing. Brevard, NC is home to approximately 16 camps. This includes boy’s camps, girl’s camps and co-ed camps. There are many other camps across the nation; some are private, some are offered through the YMCA, some specialize in campers with learning differences, and some offer scholarships.
A great resource to find summer camps in your area can be found at American Camp Association.
Each camp has its own unique focus. To find the right one for your child, take a tour if the camp is close by. You should also check that a reputable camp association accredits the camp and talk to former campers. Whether it is a day camp or sleep away camp, the experience is worth a million.
A way to enhance the camp experience for your entire family is to treat yourself to your own version of summer camp while your children are away. Unplug from electronics as much as possible, get outside, try a new sport and take time to do things you normally do not have time to fit into your busy schedule. I plan to do just this and I will keep you posted on how my memoir is coming along.
By Kathy Falls