We’re Not Doing Summer Camp

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A girl running through a sprinkler.We’re not doing summer camp this year.

Even though I never really did summer camp as a kid, I felt like my kids were missing out if I didn’t sign them up. So, last year I went through the run-around with my kids, texting furiously with other moms to coordinate camps and weeks. We researched camps that looked fun, got in before they sold out, found friends they liked to do it with and thought we were all set.

Then summer came around. It was HOT. My son had zero interest in playing basketball outside for hours on the blazing blacktop. It was a struggle to get him out the door. I didn’t blame him for wanting to swim at his nana’s house instead.

Then, my kids’ aunt and uncle decided to come out for a visit from California. So one week of Girl Scout camp got eaten up by a last-minute getaway with extended family.

Also, we got a puppy in the middle of the summer. Try getting your kids to leave for the day when a brand new puppy is running around your yard with its puppy dog eyes begging to play. We skipped camp most days that week too.

Anyway, what was supposed to be a fun couple of weeks of planned activities ended up being another chore, another obligation, another cost, and another battle during the months when I want not one more second of hustling around, sticking to a schedule, and pushing people out the door.

Some people love camp, need camp for childcare, and like to keep schedules during the summer months. I’m not criticizing people for doing camp. I just realized it doesn’t work too well for our family. Summer seems to be getting shorter and shorter. We go to school until June 21 this year and start again the last week of August. There’s nothing wrong with unplugging from activities for a few weeks to waking up each day and having the freedom to choose what we want to do rather than what we have to do.

The bigger message for me this year as we skip the summer camp sign-ups is that just because it feels like *everyone* is doing something doesn’t mean it’s something you have to do too.

It’s important to be true to what you and your family need and enjoy. Some people do summer camp. We don’t. Maybe we’ll try again next year, but we are enjoying the freedom of long summer days while they last this year.

Have you ever signed up your kids for something and then decided it didn’t work for your kids or your family? Did it make you change your plans the next time around?

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