June 22, 2013
Yesterday, I told you that we would have our Double Play closing. Double Play is an option for first time campers (having just finished 4th or lower) to attend two weeks with an option to extend. The families that chose not to extend left this afternoon.
It was a small, but lovely gathering. Susie Ma’am and I love seeing the parents. We believe that we serve families, not just children. But we get the vast majority of our time with the campers, so it is a special treat to talk with the parents as well.
Of course, they are more interested in talking with the counselors and hearing stories of their children’s friends and adventures at camp.
Finally, they are MOST interested in talking with their precious children.
It is these conversations that I want to write about.
As Susie Ma’am and I walked around, we generally did NOT hear too much about the Pirate Ship or the Spin Cycle or horseback or waterskiing. We did not hear that their counselors loved them or that their friends made them laugh (campers are slow to express feelings like this). No, the typical conversation with an 8 year-old at pick-up is like the following:
“One day the water pressure was low and some people had to shampoo in the SINK!!” (Problem quickly fixed once we learned that a valve broke and lodge in the lines)
“It was the BIGGEST spider I ever saw”. (Yep, the wolf spider is harmless to humans and eats crickets and flies).
“And then my sailboat flipped!!!”
“The night it rained, the lightning was SOOOO bright it woke me.”
My first reaction as a camp owner is to either cry or explain to the parents what actually happened. But then I listen to the tone. The voices are full of energy and their faces are massive smiles.
I was not listening to complaints. I was listening to adventures. Each of these adventures involved some discomfort or fear or challenge and each one ends with the campers surviving and thriving. Sure the Pirate Ship is exciting and Trojan-Spartan games are fun, but these are orchestrated experiences. The most memorable experiences seem to be those that happen spontaneously and semi-privately with just you and some friends (and that spider).
Their message might have sounded like complaining, but it was actually their way of saying “look at the circumstances that I navigated on my own . . . I must be becoming a big girl/boy”.
Of course, having our best re-registration rate ever for a Double Play also drives home the point that these stories were adventures.
So I hope that your child shares the great activities and special events with you. But do not be surprised if you hear about a baby goat peeing or a scrapped knee. If this happens, look at the smiles and the eyes and appreciate your camper saying “look at what I can do”.
Once that is over, you will hear about Man Cave/Friendship Games, beloved counselors, cool cabinmates and awesome activities.
See you in a week!