Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Camp.. a rite of passage?

A friend of mine sent her daughter to camp this week. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but this friend's daughter has special health needs and has never been to camp. The daughter is going into 6th grade. The camp is a special camp created for kids with health needs. It's an exciting and scary week for the family. A rite of passage if you will.

Why is this important enough to have me dwelling on it all week? Simple. Maddie has never been to camp. She's never been on more than an overnight  anywhere unless I was out of town and she had to stay with family. (She may have spent two nights with a cousin once voluntarily, but I'm not sure..) A month ago she went on her first ever lock-in at church.. and she knows these people and they know her, and I could have gone and picked her up at anytime.

So I'm a little concerned. Maddie is going into 8th grade this year. She is going to have to learn how to go on trips without me. But how do I do it? I looked into the medical camp that my friend's daughter is at, and I'm thinking about sending the camp an email and asking how Maddie can go. It's not easy. Maddie's health is stable and she looks fantastic, but what camp does she fit with? Do I try for the renal camp? The immunology camp? The asthma camp? And because she looks so great, will people think she doesn't fit in? Or do I try to send her to a band camp? And then what happens if she goes into a flare?

I absolutely loved going to camp as a child. It gave me a sense of who I was and taught me that I could thrive anywhere. I wasn't one of those kids that made a bosom friend the first day, but I made enough acquaintances that I could find someone to do something with. I loved making my bed, arranging my stuff, and walking around getting a feel for the camp. I did this at campfire camp, at church retreats, music name it, I went.

I think that these experiences helped me to be ready for adulthood. I thrived in college, I spent a semester abroad learning different cultures and traveling. I drove across the US by myself to grad school without even knowing where I was going to live. I was ready for adventure.

Maddie doesn't like adventure. She likes routines.

What do I do?

1 comment:

  1. I think it's ok to let her find her way on her own. She has you as her mother to guide her for the next five years and if she wants to go to overnight camp or on a trip, you'll figure out how to make it work. She'll be prepared for her own adulthood because she has parents who are teaching her how to take care of her herself and who will be there for her if/when she needs them. It's a scary thing, especially when they go off to college and you can't do things for them, but it's also amazing how much they can do and to remember how much you did at their age. She's going to be a very fine woman. :)