The shamrocks are still hanging on my front door, but the coming of spring is not what’s been occupying me lately. No, what I’m thinking about is summer — namely, what will I do to fill the nearly 10 weeks or so when my little one will be out of school?
Last year we did a week of nature camp, a bit of dance/art camp, and two weeks of swim camp. I thought I knew what I was going to do this year – my daughter was finally old enough to enroll in a local day camp program where the kids get picked up and taken to this wonderful park. But then…. I began to wonder.
Did I really want her to go to that program, where, I’ve been told, the supervision is not that great at the pool? And, even though it’s inside a park, it’s really still in the city. And in my heart of hearts, what I want for my daughter is that sort of sun-glistened, wonderful time in the country we all fantasize about (at least, those of us living in the city do.)
That explains why last summer I drove myself ragged schlepping her to Tenafly for nature camp every day. I just wanted her to have time outdoors, on hiking trails, digging in mud – looking for frogs, sitting around camp fires.
So – I am taking a gamble this summer and enrolling her in a Girl Scout camp for the first time. It’s held here, and it sounds awesome. Of course, if their plans to bus kids from my city to this idyll fall through, I will have resigned myself to driving her. But I suppose its a gamble I can live with.
Once I got started, I couldn’t stop researching the alternatives. In fact, I gathered so much material on summer camps, I published a little booklet on it and am trying to sell it to local moms. (Some area shops, including one of our toy stores have agreed to sell it for me, and some of the proceeds are going to the financial aid fund at my daughter’s school. Still, I spent more time and money on it than I can ever hope to re-coup, but such is the life of crazy, kid-obsessed, freelance writers.)
One of the things I was looking for when I was gathering info for the guide were local (or not too far away) horseback riding camps or classes. That’s how I stumbled on Pony Camp. My daughter’s eyes lit up when I said those magical words to her: “Pony Camp.”
I mean, who could resist, really? I told a good friend about it, and now she and I are going to share the driving since her son is also enrolling. It’s all great. But, you know what? I’d like to go to Pony Camp. I’d like to spend the day riding cute ponies (or, OK, a magnificent stallion) and brushing it’s gleaming back. I’d like to picnic under the trees and explore the grounds. Instead, I will spend most of my summer days in an air-conditioned office cramming work into the hours my daughter is gone, staring at my computer.
To be honest, I am hoping to take a chunk of August off to spend with my kid. But, I said that last year and she often ended up entertaining herself while I did more work (before we made a mad, last ditch dash for a local pool or park). I am also hoping the whole family can get away together when she gets off school in June, but nothing’s been booked yet. The high cost of gas is making us re-consider the original plan of driving to Quebec City.
What I really think is that there should be a summer camp for parents. Actually – there is, it’s called Sleep Away Camp — when your kids are old enough to go away and the parents can have some time off to play. How old does she need to be enroll for that again?
This is an original Jersey Moms Blog post. Theta Pavis, a New Jersey mom, is an editor, writer and poet. She has fond memories of sleep-away camp. She never dreamed of owning a pony, but she did read Black Beauty more than once.