Saturday, January 26, 2013

Charlie Brown always went to camp, too. But Linus didn't. What's up with that?

I recall being mystified as a teenager and later when I watched movies or TV shows about kids going to camp.  Meatballs and other movies had these kids getting on buses or being dropped off by parents, seemingly for the entire summer, and either having a great time or a miserable time or a little of both, and I used to wonder "Who goes to camp?"

I didn't know anyone who went to camp, back then, or now.  Me and all my friends just frittered away our summers in a bleary haze of whiffle ball games and complaining that there was nothing to do.

The only person I've ever known to go to camp, in my entire life, is The Boy, who went to camp for a week when he was about 12 or so, the product of a friend who was going to camp and wanted someone to go with him.  But even then, "camp" was only a week and it was only 1 hour away.

I say all that because I came across this website while I was looking for things the boys could do this year.  The website is called TipsOnTripsAndCamps.com, and it does pretty much exactly what that site address promises: It helps you find trips or camps for your kids.

I read through it (and the first thing you should know is, it's free) and it seems like a great idea: you register and work with a 'camp counselor' to help select the right camp for your kid and for your family -- but not just 'sight unseen' in a brochure.  They have a blog and testimonials and "Virtual Camp" meetings and a big get together where you can meet people who run the various camps they line your kids up with, so that you can feel safer about the camp you chose.

That seems important to me.  Remember that kid in Meatballs?  Or those kids who got dropped off in Hot Wet American Summer?  Those parents didn't seem to know what was going on at those camps, and while it worked out all right for Meatballs kid, it still seems like maybe you should know a lot more than just "Hey, it's a camp" before you ship your kid off for a day or week or month or summer.

(Confession: All I knew about where The Boy was going was "Hey, it's a camp," and the kid he was going with seemed not to be a serial killer.  I am assuming that Sweetie had details but maybe she assumed I had the details.  PARENTS OF THE YEAR, if not DECADE.)

Tips on Trips, etc., has specialty camps and general camps, academic programs (including trips abroad), and it seems like they would be the ones with all the details.  I haven't decided yet whether the boys need a formal program this summer, but if I do, I'm definitely going to see if these people can help me find a place.

2 comments:

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

I was glad I never went to camp. Camping with the parents was bad enough.

Andrew Leon said...

I had a friend that went to camp every summer. I think it was for a month. He always wanted me to go with him, and my parents wanted me to go with him, but I wouldn't go, because I spent my summers at my grandparents' farm, and I couldn't bring myself to miss doing that.
Still, every summer for about 5 years, he invited me to camp.