This episode of Slate’s parenting podcast Mom and Dad Are Fighting is about two things: mindful parenting and the pros and cons of summer camp.
I am not a parent. I am not even an aunt, though if I had my way my brother would get going, because I’d be an excellent aunt. I feel completely qualified to speak about children and summer camp.
Both my father and my mother went to sleep away camp when they were kids. My dad went to Boy Scout camp in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. It was all hiking and rough housing. My mother went to a Jewish sleep-away camp in New York. It was all musical theater and archery. They both loved it and talked about it a lot when I was a kid. So when I got old enough I said I wanted to go to camp.
I went to a Jewish sleep-away camp in Malibu and I hated it. The kids made fun of me constantly but I wrote home as if everything was fine. And what’s more, I went back year after year. I felt like I should like camp so I kept going but really, it was awful. But I could see kids who loved it, and I could totally understand how someone could love it.
Mom and Dad Are Fighting host Allison Benedikt loved camp when she was a kid and can definitely see sending her kids when they get older. Host Dan Kois was more like me. He generally hated it. So if you’re thinking about sending your kids to camp, make sure you don’t pressure them into it.
Bonus info: Send your kids to day camp instead! You might qualify for a tax credit if you do! Read about that credit here.