Saturday, July 24, 2010

A tale of two camps

They're back! And they aren't happy to be home. Both the 11 year old and 9 year old in their last days of their first two week overnight camps lobbied to stay an extra two weeks. Of course, their modes of communication to us are telling in terms of the camp experience they had.

Child No.1 attended a very traditional, outdoors type camp in New Hampshire. Her communication with us consisted of traditional, snail mail. I should emphasise the 'snail' part. The two letters we received prior to her coming home consisted mainly of demands, subtle and not so subtle, for stuff which we duly express posted to her. But her letters took a week to reach us just one state over. Thus, on the day we brought her home, we received her letter asking, well pleading, to stay longer. That said, we already heard much of that during the car ride home and, indeed, during the pick up where we pretty much had to physically drag her from her cabin. Suffice it to say, she had the time of her life and didn't see why that should end. From our point of view, in principle, she had exactly the experience in camp we were looking for. In retrospect, I think a bit of hardship that might have made her more willing to return home might have been nice. Apparently, the bugs, the relatively poor food, the crappy showers, etc, weren't enough to outweigh two weeks of swimming, kayaking, dances, photography, archery, horseriding, waterskiing and fifty new best friends. Go figure.

In contrast, Child No.2 told us about his desire never to return home via FaceTime. FaceTime is an iPhone 4 feature that allows you to talk face to face. And, yes, our son has an iPhone 4. He was going to computer camp for goodness sake. I figured he should have the best. So sue me! But the big benefit of  that was being able to communicate face to face every night; sometimes absurdly late at 10:30pm! Indeed, I think our experience would make a good iPhone ad. I never expected that feature to be more of a gimmick but in actuality, he got about as much of home as he needed and saw no reason to come home. Of course, we can add to that the comic creation, the puzzle game making, and the web page design in html! Apparently, he had good food and hot water. Also, given the computer camp experience, one of his roommates brought a Nintendo Wii and of course a flat screen TV to use it on. Suffice it to say, that made his room the hub of a huge amount of social activity. Near as I can tell, they pretty quickly turned it into an exclusive club with rules of behaviour and apparent entry fee in form of canteen food. 

We had two kids go for very different experiences and, in neither case, are they at all pleased to return to us. Their younger sister was pleased to see them as will we, of course, once the period of sulking ends.