Yesterday a close friend called. We were talking after a month, which is very unusual because the longest we’ve gone without a phone call is a week. We invariably end up calling each other on a Monday – mid-morning – around 11ish when we’re both done with the morning stuff and deserve a break before we get into the next phase of our day.
After our initial pleasantries where we scolded each other and then ended up laughing, she brought me up to date about what her daughters were up to. I love those girls and have seen them grow up and share all her joys and anxieties about them. In fact, we met when we arrived in this city – at the time, Vidur was just over a year old and the moment we met their family. Our souls met and it was like one more piece in my life’s jigsaw puzzle just fit into place!
As we marveled at how time was flying, we naturally slipped into nostalgia and reminisced over the wonderful family times we’d enjoyed. In particular, a funny experience came to mind. Summer vacation was looking us in the eye and we were keen on finding something to keep the kids occupied. There were summer camps being advertised all over the place.
Then we came across a flyer for overnight camps. Sleepaway camps or overnight camps are a great option for busy parents. From what we heard, they are very well organized and the children are taken care of.
The thing was, the ones that looked suitable appeared to be expensive. And of course, our kids were freaking out over attending an overnight camp. What to do? We hit upon a brilliant idea. We thought – why not organize a sleepaway camp of our own by going somewhere with our kids and some of our friends’ kids? Excited about our brainwave, we worked on it and took a short trip that everyone enjoyed tremendously.
As we continued chatting, we naturally talked about her nephew who turned 9 this year, and who shares his birthday with Vidur. She was telling me about her conversation with him when she called to wish him a happy birthday and how he was raving about the fun he had at his first overnight camp experience during his holidays last month – which he attended with his brother.
It was a week-long camp and they seem to have enjoyed themselves very much. The whole idea of going away without the parents was so novel to them, being their first time away from home on their own. Of course, their Mom told my friend what a boon it had been, since both she and her husband had a particularly hectic time at work during that week. I was keen on hearing about what happened at the camp. It seems they had organized quite a few activities including games, hobby classes, a day’s trekking and campfires along with teaching them simple things related to survival. Of course, pillow fights, bruises and a tummy upset or two were a given; however, the boys were none the worse for wear.
It got me thinking. Going away on a short trip or a summer camp from home under safe supervision is an invaluable learning experience. I recall being eager to go stay with an aunt who lived in South India during the summer and it was such fun to experience such a different lifestyle with cousins who were not aware of what city living was like. To me, i twas fascinating. I remember my Mom commenting how different I seemed when I got back. More grown up…and wiser, maybe?
Another friend of mine sends her son to a school where they regularly organize sleepaway camps and he loves them, although he initially doesn’t sound to enthusiastic about them.
Like travel, camps are a nice way to broaden the mind and see the world out there, while experiencing community feeling with a group, sharing things, making friends. It is also a moment of self-discovery and confidence building.
Have you ever gone on a sleepaway camp?
Did you enjoy it?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain