After wearing nearly every hat in the camp world (camper, junior counselor, counselor, unit leader, swim instructor, director, and owner), I can finally add an even more important role to that list: parent. I am thrilled that my oldest daughter will be an official Somerset camper this year and, while we’re both so excited, I’m also a little bit nervous!
I realize this may sound crazy given that I’ll be there at camp with her, but I need to be her director, not her mom. I want her to have the space to navigate the day, to meet new friends, to make good decisions, and to learn to exist in a community setting. I’m also anxious because this whole “getting your kid ready for camp” deal is stressful! For every email that Josh sends about forms, packing, travel, and beyond, I get them too! I need to schedule her physical, purchase her camp clothes, and argue with her over the shoes that WON’T be going to camp. It’s eye-opening to be on the other side of this process, and I feel all the joy and pain that you feel too!
Deep down, I know that the big things will take care of themselves. I do not worry about her having fun, or making friends, or eating enough fruit and vegetables. It’s the little things that keep popping into my head, like how will SHE figure out where to put her wet bathing suit if I cannot be there to help her? Of course, the truth is, she will figure it out. And I know this because I believe in her, because she has to, and because I know that the support and encouragement she will receive at camp is second to none.
Our daughters are strong, courageous, and resilient. They will learn new skills, tackle new challenges, fall down, get up, and grow from all of it. And, in the end, they will return home into our loving embrace with inspiring stories and renewed self-confidence. Thirty years ago I fell in love with camp, and now I have goosebumps thinking about my daughter doing the same, right alongside your daughter too.