School is out and summer vacation begins. For some children, the thing they look forward to now is summer camp. It may be sports camps or church camps, but children look with anticipation to being away from home with their peers for a week. Parents as well probably look forward to the time when someone else will be planning activities to keep their children entertained.
Summer camp as I remember it was a wonderful time in my life. You had to be 13 to attend our church camp and I thought that age would never come. (Funny how our birthdays seem to come so quickly now compared to back then.)
The cost of camp in those days was $10. That still seemed hard to come by, but our church offered $10 to any young person who read their Bible through in a year. I worked hard at that and used my $10 for camp.
Another year, I volunteered to help our youth leader clean up the camp area in order to be able to go free. The money I made reading my Bible and the work I did to get to go was well worth it.
For five years in a row, I attended church camp. The memories from that time are still vivid today. The smells from the canteen where we could buy homemade lemonade on a hot afternoon, the music class where we “raised the roof” with our singing, the campfire service on the last night, new friends made, horseshoe contests and giggling at night when lights were supposed to be out. All are wonderful memories of a fun time.
Many years after being a camper myself I became a camp leader for several years. We had 80 to 100 children who attended.
The planning for the week was a big responsibility. How much food do you need to feed that many children? Who will be the counselors? Where will everyone sleep? How can we keep everyone safe? What classes should we have?
Weeks were spent planning and organizing but all was worth it at the end of a successful camp week. It was an experience that I was glad to have.
Today there are many camp opportunities for our youth. Children can choose church, basketball, baseball, swimming, cheerleading, art, music and various other kinds of camps to attend. This is a good growing-up time for young people. The discipline of following directions, being a good leader and learning new skills are important for young people to enjoy and learn from.
Other camps are the ones for children with disabilities. Children with diabetes, muscular dystrophy, autism, epilepsy and many other special needs can find a camp where they can be taken care of properly and have a wonderful time with other children. This is not only good for the child, but it is very helpful for the caregivers who need a break from the day-to-day care that is needed. If you Google camps for children with disabilities you will find many different opportunities for summer camp fun.
Whether a child attends church camp, sports camp, music and art camp or a camp for disabilities, they can benefit greatly from the time spent with their peers enjoying fun and learning at the same time. Memories from these experiences can be carried with the children throughout their lives.
Bonnie Simmerman of
Boones Creek is a retired
elementary school teacher.