Did you know that some children go to summer camp? For a week, for multiple weeks, for the whole summer? Oh, and they arrive via chartered jet, according to a recent article in the New York Times. Apparently, getting to these summer camps has become so "ridiculous" that one mother (at the end of the article) has decided her children won't attend camp in the Northeast anymore. Nope. They're in Europe this summer. Say what!?!
No private jets for you. And probably no summer camp.
As a child, a week of Christian summer camp maybe. Presbyterian, probably, so you can soak up some Jesus with your sun. And when you're a teenager, I'll allow you the hormonal pleasure (see: "massage circles" and/or "water play") of attending Presbyterian youth conferences, including Montreat Youth Conferences and the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, a conference that takes place every three years. But, definitely not any camps posing as music or sports or science camps where your behavior will not be supervised by the guilt of one religious institution or another.
I hate to get all Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother on you, but I don't think there's any need for you to ever attend summer camp, aside from the non-traditional options presented to you above. Maybe it's because I'm not from the Northeast and it's not a part of my cultural makeup. Maybe because I see no reason for me to pay for you to go play in the woods with a bunch of people we don't know. When you could just as easily go play in the backyard or go camping with people you do know. Maybe because I want to spend the summer with you. Or maybe because even if I wanted to get a break and send you away, there are about three dozen people on a waiting list we've been keep since your births that are willing to take you. For weeks at a time. For free. Maybe because I don't want you sleeping on bed bug infested mattresses. Maybe because I'm just plain mean and overprotective. And never let you do anything. And Susan's mom is letting her go to cheer leading camp! Maybe.
I know people who's childhoods have been shaped by summer camps--religious, academic, debate or otherwise. And they are fantastic people. And they can feel free to comment here to convince me of my shortsighted parenting.
I guess if you really really really wanted to go to a summer camp for a really really good reason, like you were awarded a scholarship to some genius-brainiac camp where you build robots that will do your summer reading for you, then I'd let you. But, you'd have to pay for it yourself. So, start saving.
Where does the visceral dislike of summer camps come from? Two places.