One of the best weeks of the summer? Week long camp in Arkansas. Oh, how I love thee.
For the last four summers, we’ve been sending the kids to summer camp. They adore the time away, with the freedom to do what they want, within reason, we enjoy slightly cleaner bathrooms and less cooking. It’s win-win for everyone.
A few things I’ve chatted about before:
I always like to do a little post-interview with the kids when they arrive home. Those never disappoint. Let’s chat all things bug spray, lake water and camp food, shall we?
Camp according to CLARE
Duct tape designs: “We could just create whatever we wanted. Originally I had acting, but tape sounded more fun.”
Gymnastics/tumbling: She learned to do the splits. “It kinda hurts, but it’s still good exercise.”
Hip hop/dance: This class had her perfecting her “whip and nae nae” (Lord help me) with a recital at the end. Which, of course, she loved.
Mish mash: She spent her time putt-putting, horseback riding and creating in the wood shop. Will did tell us he ran into Clare one day, with counselors holding her on either side. With an alarmed look he asked if she was okay, “I just fell of a horse. I’m fine.” Resilience. I love it.
Clare was our first-year camper this year and she absolutely ate it up. The camp has “camp moms” call a couple of days into the week to let you know how things are going. The phone call went something like this: “Clare has not been in to see the camp moms because she’s having so much fun. She loves horses and mish mash and her favorite place is the craft cabin.” In other words: See you in a week, Mom. I’m good. She was awarded the F.I.T. Award (First is Third) which recognizes those kids who put God first, others second and themselves third, making them first in the game of life. We were quite proud of her great attitude, her happy spirit and her kind heart. Clare was not a fan of shower shoes, sticky sheets or early morning wake-up calls, but she managed to power through and have a great week. She’s already asking how many weeks until she can go back.
Camp according to ANNA-LAURA
Baking: “This was awesome because we got to bake things and then eat it.” I would’ve loved that class, too.
Softball: She learned how to get better at throwing and I do so love that gem of a photo of her great form.
Smash ball: “It’s just fun.” I still have no idea what game this is, but she and John Paul absolutely loved it.
Mish mash: She spent her free time every day putt-putting, jumping on the blob, riding the whip it, doing the balancing logs and making things in the wood shop.
When we first spied her upon arrival, I noticed her eyebrows had a bit of a pink tint. “Oh, we just did some face paint for tribal competition, Mom. Don’t worry.” I think the thing that touched me the most was something she did for one of her counselors. We’re big Aggie fans (shocking) and one of her counselors goes to that “other” school. But, Anna-Laura’s sweet heart marched right up to the woodshop, had them cut out a longhorn and she painted it for her counselor’s dorm room. I think it might be the only time I ever teared up for the orange and white.
Camp according to JOHN PAUL
Smash ball: He does this every year. I keep thinking he’ll get tired of it and I keep being wrong.
Baseball: He’s got quite the left-handed pitch going on and even made the daily camp video. His favorite part? Water balloon catching, “so we could practice soft hands, mom” and learning how to throw straight. Should be a great spring season for him.
Camp combat: He tells me it was like capture the flag with sticks and then they had shaving cream wars. I believe we call that “boy heaven.”
Mish mash: He threw in putt-putt, the ropes course, more smash ball and campaigning (see below).
Just call him Mr. President. Mid-week, they dedicate a day to red, white and blue, complete with a parade, fireworks and a good old-fashioned election for Camp President. John Paul and his buddy, Silas, pressed the flesh and took home the title of President. We got one, yes ONE, individual photo of John Paul throughout the week. Seems as if he was too busy getting elected to take pictures, or as he told me, “Mom, I go to camp to have fun, not take pictures.” Touché.
Camp according to WILL
Archery: He’s done this one before, but really enjoyed making some improvements on his aim throughout the week. He hit a few bullseyes and racked up some serious points. No other campers were harmed, thankfully.
Football: His favorite part was the obstacle course at the end of the week and learning new skills. I’m just thrilled he’s content to play football at camp, that’s enough pigskin for this concussion-fearing momma.
Tourney-Dodge Ball-Mini Golf: This was all about learning fun tournament games. “I got pretty good at mini golf, sinking a few holes in one.”
Mish mash: His afternoons were filled with his first love, basketball, and archery, buying sweet tea at the camp store, skeet shooting, the ropes course and the drop zone at the rock climbing wall. I’m tired just typing that.
For the third year, Will earned the F.I.T. award which means his name is permanently engraved on a plaque in the chow hall. That, and he and John Paul earned their four-year camper blanket which got all kinds of grins. It’s the little things that are big things. With each passing year, it’s such an honor to see Will grow a little taller and a little more mature during his week away. I’m becoming increasingly thankful for his faith-filled, God fearing counselors who are showing him how a man can love God and not lose his masculinity. Well done, camp counselors.
This summer, like all the rest, was a beautiful week for my kids. They came home filthy and absolutely exhausted. Their trunks were full of some serious unmentionables, unquestionables and some I-don’t-even-want-know-what-that-is. But, it’s nothing a little Lysol can’t remedy. I think the highlight of the trip home was discovering the awesomeness of the Dairyette. Y’all. They have Dr Pepper milkshakes. And burgers. It took us one billion hours to get home, but we finally made it. The long road home was worth it, though.
Here, here for an awesome summer!