When I was growing up, I could divide my friends easily into two categories – the ones who went to camp and the ones who didn’t. My family was in the non-camp group. That’s not to say that I didn’t have camp type experiences. I routinely did a week of day camp at the local YMCA camp and even remember playing capture-the-flag with the entire camp and winning the game for my team <preen>. But I never packed a trunk and went away for a week or two to experience nature and navigate the politics of a dozen girls staying in one cabin.
On the other hand, my husband comes from a camp family – his sister went to camp every summer, he went to camp every summer and they even ended up serving on senior staff at the camp as they got older. So my boys will be going to camp in the next year or two but until then, we attend camp as a family.
For the last five years, we have spent our Labor Day weekend at Camp Allen located north of Houston in 1100 acres of beautiful pine forest. After meeting my in-laws at check in (this trip serves as an annual family get together), we schlep our bags up to our hotel-like accommodations and find our way down to the conference center where we make nametags, sign up for our weekend activities and grab our first meal. From there our weekend unfolds with activities as varied as canoeing, orienteering, a petting zoo, skeet shooting, horseback riding and even a chamber music concert. We participate in all of these while sneaking in some time in the pool and enjoying lovely meals made without any of us lifting a finger. In other words – this is heaven for moms and dads who want an outdoor experience for their kids but would rather not pitch a tent and cook each meal over a fire.
So my whole family goes to camp and we’re hoping that these trips will make great family memories for my boys. Either way, I know in the future when I pack their trunk and send them off to their own week of summer camp that they will know a little about what to expect. And I’ll feel better because I’ll know that if they are asked to play capture-the-flag, the drive to win is in their blood.