Camp Sea Gull and Camp Seafarer have one of the largest fleets of boats in the country. It has any land activity your son or daughter could desire. It has cabins nestled on the banks of a river that delivers nightly breezes. It has singing, lots of singing. Fireworks on July 4. Movies under the stars. Camaraderie.
But perhaps one of the Camps’ best features, which is threaded through all of the above and so much more, is independence. It is the independence your child gains from one week, two weeks or a month away from you.
It’s ironic that one of the most important things we can give our children is a gift we must give from a distance. But it’s so important, now more than ever, that children have time away from their parents.
We’ve all heard the phrase helicopter parent and have probably been one a time or two or 20. We want to make our children’s paths smoother, their falls shorter, their successes a certainty. With cell phones, e-mail and social media it is so easy to follow what they do and intervene when we feel they need to help.
That’s why this time when they are away from us at Camp is so rare and also so important. They learn, laugh, cry, squirm, shine, fail, try, try again, fail again, hurt, help, succeed, smile, lead, follow and grow without us. They make it on their own and gain skills and confidence in the process.
Well, not on their own. They make it with the guidance of counselors who are coached on guiding, helping and encouraging girls and boys. They make it with Camp veterans who have been working with children longer than we’ve been parents. They make it with doctors and nurses who know how to handle everything from bee stings to broken bones and beyond.
It’s not easy to be away from our kids not just physically but digitally as well. But it’s well worth the discomfort. Their time at Camp sets them free from the online world and all the negatives that come with comparing themselves to other kids. It also gives them a gap in the instant communication with parents and sets them up for using and eventually mastering life skills they can only develop when we aren’t there to guide them.