Gearing Up for Camp – by Cara Potapshyn Meyers
Camp, you ask? Yes, camp. Sleep away camp to be exact. A couple weeks ago, my son, husband and I went to check out a camp in northern Connecticut. After viewing a variety of camps online which were farther away, my husband and I decided to look for camps a little closer to our home on Long Island. If there was a medical problem or if my son became homesick, we could more easily drive the three hours as opposed to six plus hours to some of the other camps.
We liked how the camp appeared online, but were even more impressed once we arrived there. The camp overlooked a large lake (my son’s cabin has a balcony that faces the lake – see photo).
There are ample water activities that the kids can partake in, as well as other activities including horseback riding, zip lining, hiking, rock climbing…just about every activity my son enjoys participating in! We unanimously made the decision to have my son go for two weeks in July. We even loved his cabin!
Here is where the “gear” part comes in. We were told that our son would need XL twin sheets, a blanket, pillow and a sleeping bag. In addition, we would need to supply a small electric fan and plastic bins to store all of my son’s clothes in. He would need at least two. As I was paging through flyers this past weekend, I couldn’t help but think that what I was preparing my son for was very similar to what I would be doing when he will be preparing to go off to college. Will he need a plastic shower holder to carry his bathroom items to the showers? Will he need hiking boots for hiking excursions? Since he hates bugs, how much bug spray is enough? The same with sunscreen. There are so many incidentals that one has to consider just for a two week sleep away camp!
I actually became a bit frightened by the thought of my son leaving. Not because of the two weeks away, but because my son’s foray into college life is “only” nine years away. My son will be nine in a few months. The time has flown by exponentially. I am certain that the next nine will fly by even more quickly. Then, zoom! Out the nest he flys!
In a way, these overnight, sleep away camps will help both of us adjust and prepare for the world ahead. This year will be two weeks. Next year may be four. In the blink of an eye, he will want to go away for the entire summer. Finally, off to college. I get welled up just imagining this. But the reality is that from now until the college years, my son is going to want to test the power of his wings more and more. One day, they will be strong enough to carry him away. Out into the world of the relative unknown.
I read one of the blogs from our blogger, Sharon Johnson O’Donnell recently. She described how she felt about her eldest son being away for his first year of college. She was lamenting about the same things I am, except on a broader scale. She wonders what he does, who he is with, whether his interests are still the same. She has no idea. Her son has contact with her regularly, but because she doesn’t see who he is with anymore or hear snippets of conversation, she feels completely “out of the loop,” so to speak. I predict the same thing will happen with my own son even over the next few years. My son regularly comes to me with with issues or problems he is uncertain how to deal with. Soon, he will be turning to his friends for advice, then to people he is close to, but whom I have never met. It is very scary to think of.
For now, all I have to concentrate on is what my son will need for two short weeks. The rest of the summer, my son will be going to our local day camp. I usually complain about the hassles that day camp conjure up. Something tells me that I don’t think that I am going to complain quite as much this year. I have bigger things to focus on. I am also going to enjoy the “hassle” of dropping my son off and picking him up each day.
My “little boy” is not so “little” anymore. I am going to make every effort to enjoy him that much more, each and every day.