As I am writing this, most of the parents of my daughter’s classmates are frantically packing their kids’ sleeping bags and clothing for an overnight school camp for three days. Or at least I imagine so, and so does my daughter.
We are packing our ski goggles, ski pants and extra sweaters for a ski trip to Park City Mountain Resort instead. When you are reading this – we are on our way to Utah, while the other kids are just getting settled at their camp side somewhere in New York.
My daughter is on 5th grade, and she is an honor student who reads more books in a week that I read in six months. She is well-behaved, smart and doesn’t get into trouble. I don’t think I am a helicopter parent watching her every step – and by the way, I have no trouble letting her to go to ski school in Park City Mountain Resort and letting a person that I have never met before to take her up to the mountain and challenge her to get to the next skiing level and test her limits with her skis. On a big mountain.
But how come I have trouble letting her to go on an overnight camp with the kids that she goes to school with every day, with a teacher in a school that we have carefully picked to be among the best in our neighborhood?
I don’t know.
There is a part of me that wanted to say “go, and have fun”, especially seeing how much she wanted to go, and even when the teacher was telling us “not to worry”. But the lack of really knowing where they were going (not enough communication from school), and what they were going to be doing, and not knowing any of the people going.. I just couldn’t. I don’t care if it’s “a good school”, and “carefully selected students” going with “plenty of parents”, I could not let my 11 year old to go on an overnight school camp. Does this make me a bad mom or a good mom? According to the teacher, more of a bad mom, not that she said it with words.
Maybe I do know why I can’t let her go.
I understand that I am denying my daughter an experience and a lifelong memory, but how could I guarantee that it would be a lifelong good memory? When I was a kid I went to summer camps, Girl Scout camps, school camps, and gymnastics camps and dance camps, starting when I was about my daughter’s age. I was scared shitless on my first camp, and all what I wanted was to go home. Then I got older and started doing all of the things my mother wouldn’t have approved me doing – at the camps. And I witnessed more bad behavior, bullying, under age drinking and smoking cigarettes at the church and sports camps than in the “bad neighborhoods”. No disclosure here which of the listed I participated in, but not all of it was voluntary – on the camps I was bullied doing things I normally would not do. And on my 6th grade camp one of my schoolmates, and a roommate of mine went to diabetic shock. Lifelong memories yes, but not all good ones.
I know I can not shield her from “bad memories” or bad things forever, and I do want to put her in situations where she has to be able to make up her own mind, take care of herself and be independent. And I do. But school camp is not one of them. At the same time – she will have to learn that you can’t have everything in life and sometimes it’s a bitter lesson to learn. But at least I am making this one a bitter sweet. Can’t think of a better way to NOT go to a school camp than going skiing in Park City.
Maybe I’m not that bad of a mom after all.
You can read our travel stories and about our ski trip at Park City Mountain Resort Snowmamas.
Disclosure: I am one of the Park City Mountain Resort Snowmamas, and my trip to Park City is paid for. My opinions are my own.