This week I went on my first school camp. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to and dreading in equal parts. Maybe it’s from the movies (I’m definitely on the wine swigging side of Bad Mom’s) or maybe it’s the time that I got told by one of the teachers in my eldest daughters first year at school that it was hard to keep “part-time Mum’s like me” up to date with what was happening at school (really, this happened) but I’ve always thought that I wasn’t really the “type” of Mum that does school camp. I work through the week (and sometimes weekends) and although I do pick the kids up from school every Friday afternoon I feel like I’m not really part of the crowd.
But I decided to suck it up, apply for my 3 days annual leave and get myself off to school camp. And guess what – it rocked! So for all you parents sitting on the fence when it comes to school camp – here’s 5 reasons why you should apply for that leave, book in the babysitter and go to school camp…
#1 Meet parents like you
My biggest fear on camp was that I would be the odd parent out. The “part time parent” on the token school camp (how awful that we feel like that but I know I’m not the only one). The reality couldn’t be further from the truth…
I met parents with blended families, just like me. I met parents with 3 kids like me, just like me. I met parents who work, just like me. I met parents who love to take photos, just like me. I met parents who were also wishing we could have a wine at the end of day one, just like me. But most of all, I met parents who love their kids and wanted to do something cool with them, just like me.
So instead of being on the odd one out I made 10 new friends who are in one way or another, just like me.
#2 Get fit
If my biggest fear was being the odd one out then a close second was being the parent ending up face first in a pile of mud or worse in front of 80 parents and kids! School camp does mean getting active (a little tough for a slightly overweight 40 year old who doesn’t exercise as much as she should) but it wasn’t impossible and my scales thanked me for it after.
Over the 3 days of school camp my Fitbit tells me that I walked 31 km’s and 161 floors. And better than that I overtook some of those kids on those stairs up from the beach on day two!!
#3 See a different side to your kids
After 10 years I thought I knew my eldest daughter pretty well but seeing her at camp I saw a whole different side to her. I saw her being independent. I saw her face challenges and win. I saw face challenges and lose. I saw her having a huge amount of fun with her friends. And I saw her being proud of her Mum (and probably thankful I wasn’t totally embarrassing at camp)!
I always wondered how the kids could get such glowing reports at school and then be utterly awful to each other at home (not all the time, but you know what I mean) – now I know!
#4 Experience school camp from the other side
School camp is a memory that all of us have. Except now we are the teachers and the parents and we get to see what goes on on the other side and experience school camp as a grown up!
And a lot of it’s the same! You get to stay up late and chat (more on that below, including a cautionary tale I failed to heed), you get to sneak in chocolate (thanks to the Room 4 teacher!), you get to sleep on the top bunk (how long since you’ve done that), you get to do archery, rock climbing, swimming, fire lighting – all sorts of cool things.
Now for the cautionary tale…. Before I left for school camp my Aunt told me a story about how she had been a parent helper at school camp and stayed up all night telling her life story to another Mum in the tent. They were having a great old time until another parent knocked on the tent and told them that the sound was travelling and the whole camp could hear their stories. Aunty Julie, I’d like to tell you that your cautionary tale was well heeded but I too shared my life story on camp with the other Mum’s and we all know I’m not the quietest…
#5 Appreciate your own bed
Lastly, after 3 days away sleeping on the top bunk you are really going to appreciate your bed! It’s tough but you will come out of it with a feeling of solidarity with your kids, their teachers and the other parents.
So what are you waiting for…. Get out there and get to camp.
PS. Just incase you were wondering – I didn’t get lost and loose all the kids, for privacy reasons you won’t see any of the kids on school camp in this post – just the few brief moments I managed to point the camera in the other direction – just imagine them all whooping, laughing and playing on the other side of the camera. 🙂