Remember sleep-away camp? I do. I remember cleaning outhouses (not fun) and having to wake up at dawn. But I also remember singing around the campfire; playing endless games of kick-ball; swimming in the lake; rowing a boat for the first time; making new, lasting friends.
These days, when hyper-parenting, uber-networking and micro-scheduling are the norm, our kids - more than ever - need that precious time away. To discover who they are. To distance themselves - just for a few weeks - from our constant judging, scrutiny and absorbtion in pretty much everything they do. To learn about independence and self-reliance - and to understand social values such as cooperation, empathy and trust.
Do they still sing kumbaya? I don't know. But here's what I do know: Camp is still camp! Sure, some things have changed. These days, camps keep in close touch with families. Really close touch. Many camps send parents online photos - practically every day. And faxed letters from the kids. And tweets and emails.
But the singing, the camaraderie, the sense of independence and self-confidence boost, those are still in place. Just ask my granddaughter. The 10 days she just spent with her friends at Camp Solomon Schechter in Olympia were priceless.
Some overnight camps still have openings. Check ParentMap's camp page for information!