My littlest girl is away on her first school camp this week. Luckily her father was chosen as a parent supervisor so I am getting regular updates about rock climbing, BMX riding, lovely food and ,last night, a Christian sing-a-long! I practically feel like I am there with them – without the sleepless nights on plastic covered mattresses and the long, arduous days of “niceness” that parents have to perfect with everyone else’s kids!
This has been a far cry from my oldest girls camp a few week ago. This was her first ever camp too! She is almost eleven! But the last school the girls attended (a public school in NSW) decided that ages 8-13 years (3rd class-6th class) could all be invited on the same camp! Some of the little guys were still losing their first teeth and the big ones were talking about losing their virginity!
Crazy age group mix for a week of overnighters! As a result both girls were not allowed on these excursions as they were in the younger age bracket and I believe in keeping them within their age group as long as I can. Once you lose your innocence it is gone for good!
I am a primary school teacher myself who always believed in the public system, taught in the public system, attended school in the public system but that decision about running an 8 -13 year camp and many others (before and since) have made me lose my faith a little at a time.
So we nervously sent our big girl to a Sport and Recreation camp hours away in an appropriate age group (hers!) with teachers we trust from her new (private) school for a whole week.
I was sleepless for two nights. Worried she would be homesick! Worried she wouldn’t have any food she liked. Worried she would forget us. Worried she would fall out with friends or be bullied and wouldn’t be able to tell me until 5 nights later!
She jumped off the bus in the dark and ran into my arms and hugged me tight. She grabbed her luggage herself and confidently walked to our car after thanking her teachers. And she had had the absolute time of her life! She was safe, happy, ate alot of great stuff and tried every activity on offer. She didn’t report a single incidence of unfairness or bad sportsmanship. And she wishes she could do it all again.
I’m so glad we waited till we knew she would be safe and come back a bigger person instead of a possibly damaged one.
School camps are the best! Long live school camps!