Summer camp season: is it possible that parents need to start thinking about it already? Over the years my kids have participated in a variety of camps and I've found some easier to get into than others...which means it's a good idea to begin considering options and looking at listings such as those put out by the Fredericksburg Parent and Family and the local Parks & Recreation departments...now!
In my experience, some of the most competitive camps are those offered through Fredericksburg Parks and Rec. As I am a Stafford resident, it is extra difficult to find a slot in one of these coveted camps because the registration for us "non-city dwellers" comes after the city parents get to sign up. I well remember standing in a long line outside the Dorothy Hart Community Center one breezy April day with a two-year-old Robert fidgeting in his stroller. Other parents, some similarly accompanied by smaller siblings and others blessedly alone, waited with me until the doors opened and we all surged in, eager to secure a summer camp slot for our offspring.
As Robert and I made our way through the process he became increasingly agitated at being confined. He lurched and thrashed, hoping for release from the stroller. When he saw some other kids with doughnut holes and juice boxes he went ballistic. While I tried to fill out the forms so that my older child could have the Camp Experience of her dreams, he wailed and bellowed. Finally, I put down my pencil, scrounged him a doughnut hole, and released him to run wild with the other toddlers. I don't remember much about the camp I signed his sister up for that summer, but that dreadful morning is seared into my memory. Word to the wise: when a long line and a younger sibling are involved, try to get a sitter!
Not all of our camp-related experiences have been that trying. Both of my kids enjoyed the YMCA's kindercamp when they were preschool-aged and I appreciated the fact that it provided them with a structure similar to preschool, with activities such as circle time, crafts, snack and playground. Nothing too dramatic, but then again, a group of three-five-year olds does not need a lot of drama.
Last summer, when he was five, Robert enjoyed "Run and Fun" at the Field House where he and the other kids in his group ran around like mad in a climate-controlled setting and played a variety of games involving balls and a lot of time (as evidenced by his knees and hands when I picked him up each day) on the floor. He was in heaven!
Meanwhile, Katherine, age nine, was in her second year at Belmont's week-long art camp, learning to paint and draw landscapes. Both of them also had a great time at week-long nature camps run by the Friends of the Rappahannock.
Get a move on parents! The long hot summer will be here before you know it and there's no better way to break up the boredom than a few days or weeks at camp! Be sure to use Fredericksburg Parent and Family's Savvy Moms Guide to Camps as your resource to a great Summer Camp experience!