Sunday, July 30, 2017

Back From Camp

I picked up my youngest from a week at a YMCA camp.  His first words to me were "I don't want to go for 2 weeks next year."

One of my favorite readers once asked me why I'm such a big fan YMCA camps.  I didn't provide an adequate answer, so this time at pickup, I observed.

I think some people are misled by the name.  YMCA stands for Young Men's Christian Association. In 1919, they started with some great values, and still have great values, but it doesn't really meet the needs of a bible camp, or a Christian camp, or a slightly any religion camp.  There are as many girls and women as men, maybe more.  It may look like a bunch of young people leading even more young people, but the leaders are trained professionals.  I think it is still an association.

The kids choose their own activities and are responsible for themselves to some extent.  The week is highly organized and choreographed with an excessive evaluation program.  The end result is kids who are on their own but watched by young, but trained professionals.  

Parents are choreographed out of the picture.  I think parents watch and direct their kids too much, especially in urban areas, to the determent of the child.  The YMCA camp undoes it in one week.

My oldest is on his 4th summer tour of YMCA camp.  Unfortunately, he's also a member of MI6 so he never tells me anything.  On the 3 hour drive home, the younger one talked for 3 hours, giving me a detailed explanation of the week in minute-by-minute increments.  It's way better than I imagined.

I don't think my 9 year old (as of 2 days ago), needs much undoing, but he got it anyway.  He's at a whole new level today.  It's not just new 9 year old leadership skills and self confidence.   It's not just personal responsibility.   It's like a big bucket of awesomeness.

Yesterday I told him he could walk three blocks to the Walgreens past the second most dangerous street in Chicago.  That was a 'Fail' and we'll wait again until next year.   Then I printed a stack of 9th grade competitive math problems.  Another fail, but he learned 4 things about angles.

I'm signing him up for 2 weeks next year.  Otherwise, when I pick him up after the first week he'll get mad at me.   I patiently explained that a new 9 year old exhausted from camp is not in any condition to make decisions.  This isn't YMCA camp anymore and I'm not asking for opinions on what he wants to do.

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