When we moved to the Northeast more than 15 years ago now, one of the first things we began to realize about summer here is, kids go to camp. Now as die hard Midwesterners, determined not to lose our values to our new neighbors, we knew we wouldn't be sending our kids to camp. Summer time was family time, and we'd help supply ample opportunity for fun and adventure.
As our kids' friends went off to camp every summer I kept wondering what is was that made kids want to leave home for four or even eight weeks at a time. Eventually our oldest said he wanted to go too. Camp had not ruined our friends' kids, so after much discussion off he went.
Was it the best experience he ever had? Well something like it. The kids clearly enjoy their freedom, the camaraderie. And I think more than anything else, the sense that this is their experience. It's not the world through their parents filter, it's camp. And often, the friends you make there and the confidence you gain last a life time.
Disney exec Michael Eisner has written a book called "Camp" and in it he credits the lessons learned there as being life changing. I don't suspect camp is going to turn my kids into corporate titans. But I can tell by their looks on their weary, sun darkened faces on visiting day, that camp was good. And while it seemed to me they were gone forever, it went by in a flash.
Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many across the country.
By Harry Smith