Today was the first day that my husband and I have been able to take a walk outside since November and already I'm worried about getting a jump start on summer camp registration. Something about winter, cold, and snow snow snow doesn't inspire me to start researching camps (even though I know I really should).
My children enjoy camps, which is good, because being a working mom means that I need a fun, safe place for this children during the summer. I've got extremely flexible working hours, which is a blessing, but even when I can work at home more than the two days a week I do now, the kids need something to do or they'll want to spend the day indoors, on the TV or computer (which I limit to one hour a day). A few years ago we tried the summer program offered by the local "mega church" that provides my son's after school care. The after school program was non-religious and offered safe, convenient child care in a facility full of options such as an indoor swimming pool, horse back riding, soccer, baseball, basketball etc. I should add that we are Presbyterians, so a religious after school program was not out of the question, it's just we aren't Bible Baptists. That's a whole 'nother thing.
Unfortunately the summer program offered a WHOLE LOT of Bible Baptist. It turned out that this was where they switched over to their "Come to Jesus" ministry program. I should have known something was up when they never allowed the students of the church's private school to mingle with the non-member children (I can only assume they thought that because we didn't send our children to their church school they were somehow tainted). And the straw that broke the camels back (see how I throw in a religious reference!) was when they started showing the children DVD series that made fun of evolution and told my daughter, who wants to be a geneticist, that scientists were athiests and all going to Hell.
So we nixed the denim-wearing Bible fundies and moved to the YMCA down the street, which while more "worldly" has tons of kids, activities and programs that my two enjoyed (including a science program that did not preach the earth was 3,000 years old and Adam had a dinosaur as a pet). I won't say it is a perfect program (some of the music is questionable and some of the children use language that we don't allow) but my children recognize this and we deal with it. Life gives you choices and we teach the children the right ones to make and to recognize the wrong ones. That's part of growing up.
We'll be going back to the Y this year, plus mixing in some theater camp run by the Christian Youth Theater. This is a new one for us, and the kids are really looking forward to drama, singing and dance classes. We've seen several productions already from CYT and they are professional and really outstanding.
I'm also looking into a week at sleepaway camp, also run by another YMCA, about 30 minutes from here. John went to sleepaway camp as a kid (I did not) and really enjoyed it. William is keen on the idea, Catherine not so much. I thought we'd go to the info session and see what we think, tour the camp etc. At $1300 for the week, it isn't cheap, and I'm expecting a lot from it. Still, it makes me nervous to have the kids gone for a week, even though this is sort of a cool thing to do as a kid.
Anyone have any good sleepaway camp stories to share?