So in about an hour, I’m taking my precious baby girl to her first week of camp as a camper.
She is not scared. She is so excited she can barely eat.
I’m not scared. Well…. not really. I know she will have a great time, because she’s going with a few friends, plus she’s never met a challenge not worth taking on. I know she will experience teaching, worship, and community like she never has before, because it’s tailored to her and she’s there without us. And finally, I know that about 75% of what we packed in her suitcase won’t make it home. On account of she’s prone to losing things.
Here’s the reeeeally scary part for me. I’m now a Camper’s Mom.
For five years (one week a summer), my husband and I led worship at this very camp, along with a band made up of mostly high school students. Those experiences were awesome; very intense, high energy sessions…. 300 or so responsive kids (except for the inevitable row of 6th grade boys in the back who were, you know, too cool for everything)…. working with talented student musicians. I learned a lot about leading worship in those venues, and I have amazing memories of our times with the kids. I was good friends with the camp director at the time, so always had an inner view of the workings of the camp, the incredible counselor training, the plight of a camp nurse trying to cure homesickness, and the existence of the Overprotective Camper’s Mom (OCM). The demanding moms who fight for everything to be perfect for their kids… who dis-trust everyone except themselves… and who hover. Like helicopters, except you want to swat them.
I will not be an OCM.
This is only the second year we’ve not gone to this camp. When my husband left youth ministry, we made the decision to pull out of all summer camp staffing, which ended his 10 year run as co-director of a junior high camp, ended the worship leading at the junior camp my daughter is going to, and our involvement in worship and counseling at senior high camp. It has been an adjustment, but it’s been GREAT to have summers that stretch out at home.
Plus also, when I realized the kids coming to junior camp belonged to parents we hang out with, it seemed as though possibly I was getting to ‘that age’ where I would cease to be cool enough to jump around and lead ‘recreational worship’. I’m sure my daughter is grateful for that decision.
So now… I must take her to camp… meet the 16 year old counselor in whom I will have complete faith… deal with emotional girl-ness if all the right people aren’t in her group… and NOT BE an OCM.
But seriously? THIS is how young the campers were all those years? Young enough to worry it might storm during camp? Young enough to fret over which stuffed animal to take, so as to not hurt the feelings of those left behind?
My girl will do fine. She has 8 years of camp experience under her belt (as daughter of camp director), and an unquenchable thirst for adventure. Plus, she’s only taking sporty clothes, won’t ever care what her hair looks like, and is hopeful that they will have very few activities with the boys.
I suppose those things are only a matter of time as well.