Days before I left for summer camp, my mom spent countless hours ironing my name onto all my clothes before packing them into the same trunk my dad used in the Navy. Yet today, some moms (and dads!) hire organizers to pack for their child’s summer camp. Are these parents too busy? Some may be, but according to
an article in the New York Post, parents want their kids to have the same comforts of home, including high thread-count sheets and lavender scented soaps. I’m sorry, but isn’t the point of summer camp to rough it a teensy bit? And by rough it I don’t mean a sleeping bag atop a hard rock, but high thread-count sheets? Mom packed old bed sheets and towels and told me not to bother bringing them home at the end of the summer.
Going to sleep-away camp is a huge rite of passage in a young person’s life. Shouldn’t part of that experience be planning it with your parents? Sitting next to that large trunk all those years ago I was filled with a mix of giddiness and fear as Mom added neatly folded piles and Dad took pictures to mark this momentous milestone, while they simultaneously doled out advice. “Don’t forget to floss,” Mom said, adding it to my toiletry bag. “And make sure to tuck your sheets in real tight so bugs can’t crawl in,” said Dad.
Then there was the arrival at camp and saying goodbye. Eyes brimming with tears, unpacking kept me grounded. As anxious as I was about not seeing my parents for an entire month, the one thing that comforted me was not high thread-count sheets or expensive soap, but finding handwritten notes from Mom and Dad tucked surreptitiously inside my trunk for me to find and read the first day (and the days that followed!) if I was feeling homesick.
What will today’s kids remember from their camp days? The satin weave of their bed sheets or knowing how much they were loved and missed back home?