Monday, April 30, 2012

"can my child call home if he misses me?"

Talking to parents registering their kids for camp for the first time can be quite an experience.  There are so many different kinds of parents, and different emotional responses from them as they prepare to launch their child into the world of summer camp.  For some, the child has spent a week or more away at Grandma's house before, while others have never been away from their child for more than a day.

Some of these first-time camper parents will give me the needed information I ask them for, pay the fee, and they're off the phone... quick and easy.  Others, though, will give me the info I ask for plus anything else they can think of that I might want to know about their child -- emotional or behavioral issues, whether or not they make friends easily, what kind of activities they like, the fact that they are overweight and need to do something  this summer besides play video games.... etc etc.

Some parents make the phone call with a lengthy list of questions prepped in front of them.  Then it's interrogation time, and I get asked questions about everything from our activities to how many kids are in a cabin to how we screen/select counselors to how much snacks cost to emergency policies to... you name it.  It's interesting to me that some parents just trust what they see on the brochure/website or what they hear from friends, while others feel the need to dig deeper into the details.

These conversations can be enjoyable, difficult, and occasionally a little ridiculous.  But I imagine if I was sending my child to a week of summer camp for the first time, I'd probably be a little nervous, too.  After all, they are handing their most valuable possession -- their child -- into the care of other adults for a week!  In the end, it's always a good feeling when the conversation ends with a relieved parent saying to me, "Thank you, I feel SO much better about this now! I think my child will have a great time!"  I feel like I (and Camp!) have passed the test.  Mission accomplished -- that's one more kiddo experiencing the love of Jesus at Camp this summer!

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