Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day Camp

This week the kids are going to a city run day camp. I went to this day camp as a child and loved it and figured that my kids would enjoy it too. It's everything day camp should be: games, hiking, crafts project, lessons on the natural world plus you get to sleep in your own bed every night. Really nothing has changed at the camp since I was a kid. Except one thing...the rules given to parents. (A slight disclaimer: Mom, if you had to do this, please let me know. I don't think you did, but I was 8...what do I know?)

1.) Sunscreen:
Old Times: When I went to camp, there was no sunscreen. No mention of sunscreen to my parents and no requirements that I bring sunscreen with me.
New Times: I'm instructed to slather a sun screen of no less than SPF 15 on my kids 30 minutes before drop off plus each child must bring their own supply AND no siblings can't share. Special face cream and lip protection is also recommended.
Reality: So, each day, I'm supposed to send 6 separate sun protection lotions with my kids to camp. Doesn't that seem excessive? Then there's this simple fact: La Nina isn't awake 30 minutes before she has to leave the house and she isn't going to reapply ANTYHING without some serious adult intervention. I don't think camp counselors have the fire power. So, am I supposed to awake my child with the application of sun screen? This seems a little over the top to me, but it gets worse.

2.) Shoes
Old Times: Shoes were a good idea. Sure, we had to wear them. But really, sandals, flip flops, no one cared what was on our feet. I vaguely remember my Mom telling me to put on sandals with straps, but closed toe shoes were not discussed.
New Times: I'm instructed that my kids must wear only closed toe shoes and socks that cover their ankles plus bring a back up pair of shoes and socks that cover their ankles.
Reality: My kids don't even own two pairs of tennis shoes. Why would I buy them two pairs? The Magster lives in her crocs and I don't think La Nina's been out of her flip flops by choice since school ended. So, I'm supposed to go buy them extra shoes just to get through this week at camp. I think not. Magster has a pair of La Nina's old shoes and La Nina has a pair of sparkle shoes that are really not appropriate for camp.

3.) Water:
Old Times: Soda in my bag lunch and a drinking fountain and I was good to go.
New Times: Each child is required to bring 4-16 oz. bottles of water a day. Waters are to be chilled, not frozen and they should be kept cool with fake ice.
Reality: Lunch boxes don't hold 4 bottles of water. The Magster doesn't drink that much water in 3 days, let alone one day. I think 4 bottles of water is half her body weight. La Nina, who is better about water after a dehydration speech from her doctor, might drink two bottles a day...but come on. I can barely drink that much. So, I sent 3 bottles each. One for the morning, one for lunch, one for the afternoon. And the staff told the Dad at drop off I had to do better tomorrow.

Here's the thing: they are forever telling parents to lighten up on our kids. Don't hover. Let them make their own mistakes. Don't harass them over the small mistakes. Yet, what do these institutions do to us parents? Can you say micromanage? Geez! Packing them for day camp each day is a major project. Need the water, the snacks, the lunch, the light jacket, the extra shoes. Then the kids go through a security like backpack screen before being admitted to camp. If something is missing, then parents are reminded the requirement is 4 waters, not 3...for instance.

The kids liked the camp just fine. I'm happy to report I saw no sign of sunburn or dehydration. And their feet were in great shape. The problem is I have mixed emotions about the whole experience.


  • At 11:27 AM , Blogger Marci said...

    The only reason Abbie owned 2 pairs of sneakers was because she was required to have indoor and outdoor shoes at school. As if that girl needs an excuse for twice the number of shoes to own...

  • At 8:01 PM , Blogger Catherine said...

    Hi there! Random reader here :)

    So I just finished reading this post about day camps and I find it really interesting.

    I actually worked for 5 consecutive summers in day camps and I fully understand the rules given to parents; it's actually pretty simple. It's for protection... for the manager and the employees so that they can't have parents suing them for things like dehydration and stuff.

    However, I do agree with you: it's usually excessive :P


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