Summertime provides a new opportunity for adventure and learning for children.
Several years ago, I didn’t see it this way. When looking for summer camps for my oldest daughter after she finished first grade, I kept it pretty simple, kept her close to home and tried to keep costs down. But when I wasn’t pleased with my selections after that summer, I took matters a little more seriously.
Researching summer camps is like searching for a job. I had to find the ones that matched my daughter’s interests and personality, but I wanted her to have an enriching experience.
Whereas before I just needed daycare, summer camp is a huge opportunity for my daughter to grow academically, athletically and socially. I will always invest the money to enrich her life in these ways. But if you don’t start researching and registering months before school gets out, you may miss an opportunity for placement in a great camp.
Sometimes these great opportunities only exist if I send her out of town. There are a lot of camps in Solano County and neighboring counties that provide children with memorable experiences.
The day the summer camp brochures (yes, plural) come in the mail, I scour them, plan out the calendar and then go over the brochures with my daughter and let her make her selections.
I don’t know if my daughter knows how lucky she is. Every kid has a different experience in the summer. Some kids – like my sister and me – spend it with family traveling. Others – like my kids – will be in a day care and/or summer camp. Every experience lends itself to great memories.
My daughter will attend a variety of summer camps that challenge her mind, test her independence and will allow her to explore her creativity. My youngest daughter, who turns 5 this month, will also get to experience a weeklong day camp for the first time this year. (If she knew how to sing “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better),” she would sing it loudly to her sister over and over.)
Summer camp tests us as parents, too. How do I know if my 5-year-old is ready for camp? How does a parent know if their kid is ready for (gulp) overnight camp? You don’t know until you send them. Then you cross your fingers and try not to stare at the phone while they are away. All you can do is hope for the best.
Chances are they are going to have a wonderful time with many stories that you will never hear. I am excited for the adventures my kids will have this summer. It’s a short eight weeks until school starts again, but we will make sure to get the most out of it.
Angela Borchert is a freelance writer who lives in Vacaville. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.