Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer camp: getting out of our kids' way

On my way to the car, after helping my 15-year old and her friend with their luggages to their summer camp dorm at the Zoo Camp, in Jungle Cat World, Orono, I heard a mom trying to sound detached as she said "OK, bye", to her son, who didn't even look back. She couldn't resist adding a feeble "Have fun!", to no avail.

Our eyes met, and a moment of instant connection, which often happens between mothers, took place. With a smile, the teary-eyed mom (who felt she had a good audience) launched in a tirade about how you make all the search for the perfect camp, pay the big bucks, spend the week preparing everything on the camp's list, drive them, to watch our ungrateful offspring turn their back on us without even a goodbye.

She then said, nodding toward her younger daughter: "I'm gonna head home and hug this one."
Makes you forget why you so badly wanted them to go to camp in the first place, doesn't it?

The reality is, whatever their attitude is prior to camp, they will have a chance to live something out of their ordinary. Something our daily routine could not provide.

To help parents who are a bit anxious about the whole experience, read the great articles by Joanne Kates. Yes, the Joanne Kates who was the food critic for the GLobe for all these years. She's also been the director of Camp Arowhon in Algonquin Park since 1989 and she knows a thing or two about camp life and how to help the parents.

Read her articles: Battling the bullies: How I helped curb bullying at my childhood camp and How to cure the homesick summer camper

Check this link for photos of the drop off at Jungle Cat World's Zoo Camp in Orono, from my French version of this blog.


  1. Wow, zoo camp, what will they come up with next? My son kept bugging me this past year to go to a summer camp. By meeting with the owner Rich Morell and talking about the camp, I knew this was the camp for him. They have so many activities that even my son (who's interests always change) can find something to do every day!

  2. I know!... And I think you did the best thing by talking directly with the owner of a summer camp. You get to feel if it's a right match for your child.