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Julie’s Jabber: Summer Camp & Why It’s Slowly Killing Me

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(Getty Images/John Moore)

(Getty Images/John Moore)

Fisk-Personailty-Icon Julie Fisk
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I have found a foolproof way to age 10 years in one afternoon. All you have to do is look for summer camps for your kids. For faster results, be a full-time-working-mom and don’t start planning until mid-May, when all the good camps are filled.

I speak from experience because today I received back-to-back emails informing me the camp my oldest REALLY wants to go to is already filled (but they’ll keep my $125 deposit anyway) AND that the girl I was planning to use as a summer nanny can only work a few weeks. How did I react to this news? Well, it was ugly. There were swear words and tears, plus I stumbled and spilled iced-tea on my iPhone.

It just kills me that after 10 years of parenting (and 3 years of planning summer camps) things can still sneak up on me. I was much better at planning camps last year but spent thousands of dollars in the process. Was it worth it? Sure my kids learned new things, but will they ever paint butterflies, build bat boxes or churn their own butter professionally? I kinda hope not. So why do I get so stressed about planning the perfect camps for them?

My own mother certainly wasn’t that worried. I remember a surly nanny who spent her days watching soap operas while my sister and I got chronically sunburned and bug-bitten. My Granny stayed with us one summer but after raising approximately 80 children and grand kids, she just hid in the kitchen and made elaborate lunches out of cold-cuts and cheese singles.

When I was 15 my Mom decided to let me watch after MYSELF for the summer. She also got us a membership at a local pool but didn’t provide a way to get to it. This led to me hitchhiking on a busy street (it also signals the start of my “Questionable Judgment Years”). An attractive man in a convertible picked me up but he slipped into a panic when he found out my age. The guy barely slowed to a stop at the pool before pushing me out.

There was also the day my friend Johnna came over to play Yahtzee and said it would be way more fun if we played it with Vodka. A liquid that looks so much like water couldn’t cause much trouble, right? The day ended with a wrecked moped. It skidded out when we were driving to the pool and Johnna started barfing. I only recall falling into the grass and yelling “YAHTZEE!”

So I guess THAT’S why I want Summer Camps for my kids. I want them to go swimming and fishing and do all the cool things kids are SUPPOSED to do during the summer. But most of all, I want them to be WELL SUPERVISED with no chances of creepy convertibles or Vodka Yahtzees in their futures.

But I’m also going to go ahead & mark the liquor bottles, just in case.

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