St. Vincent de Paul Camp, est. 1971
A Summer of Fun, a Lifetime of Memories!
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Read about what it takes to be considered “accredited” by the Ontario Camps Association: The process and and the standards required by camps
In The Spotlight
From Diapers to Campers
Helping parents cope with their little ones going to camp
It was only just yesterday that they were opening the cupboard doors and pulling out Tupperware containers to stack into high towers and knock over to make loud crashes. It feels like just a week ago they got hold of the flour and covered the house in a white powder that seemed impossible to clean. Not too long ago you worried that they were not walking soon enough or saying enough words; now he’s running up and down the driveway in his light-up superman shoes caked in mud and she’s touching every box down the cereal aisle in the ballerina tutu that she insisted she wear.
The first time you left him with the babysitter was one of the most difficult things you had ever done. You came home after a night out of doing nothing but worrying, rushing through dinner, and sitting in your car four streets from your house just in case the sitter called and needed you to return home. The call never came and when you walked through the door the baby was sleeping soundly and the babysitter told you how much fun they had and how tuckered out he was from all the giggling and peek-a-boo you played. It was not easy for you to allow someone else to temporarily watch the one thing you cared about most in the world – and it’s perfectly O.K. to feel that way.
Now that your little one is six or seven years old, the moment has come for you to let them go longer. One week of camp. It’s a scary thought to drive your baby to a field where a group of trained counsellors you’ve never met are going to take your child on adventures through canoe trips, forest excursions, imaginary play, and whimsical camp songs. At this point I need stress how much fun they are going to have and how many memories they will create that they otherwise would not have.
It starts with your little one meeting their best friend for the week – or depending on age, for the day. They learn new names, see new faces, and are exposed to new challenges. As the first day progresses they learn to cope with a new social situations, they learn independence, and they learn trust. For one week at camp, your six year old enters an imaginary themed world and exits with smiles and stories that will go beyond the car ride home. Knowing how much fun and how much learning is happening throughout the week does not necessarily make it easier to give a kiss goodbye and wait five days for a kiss hello. Before I continue, I will remind you – although they’re having fun, they do miss you. Everything they are doing is being placed in their long term memory (another skill that is developed throughout the week) because “I want to show mommy and daddy on Friday!” or “I’m going to draw this picture for Auntie of me and my cabin at camp!” They haven’t forgotten you.
Your baby is in good hands. She’s having fun, she’s learning, and she will see you very soon. So what do you do with five days of relief? Take it as a break – you deserve it! You are officially on holiday. The best thing you can do is not to call the camp to “check in” unless it’s an emergency. The more you think about it, the harder it will be to cope with it. Distraction is the best medicine. The house needs cleaning, you probably wouldn’t mind a dinner night out with your spouse, maybe you want to take a nap in the afternoon… just because you can. That chocolate that you can’t break out until your child is in bed late at night – indulge! Grab a piece in the afternoon, no one will ask you for a piece too. Turn off Barney and Dora and watch that romantic comedy you’ve been itching to see! I can almost guarantee that the first day you will hop into your bubble bath, close your eyes, and suddenly it’s Friday and time to pick up your child. Don’t blink… Before you know it, they’ll go from diapers to campers!