Today marks a momentous occasion in my family. It is the end of summer camp. My daughter has been saying it marks the end of her childhood and I keep trying to tell her that she can keep some of that childhood inside her. But, deep down, I know she is right.
Next summer she will be a high school graduate. She will probably have a job. She will be getting ready to leave for college. Her definition of summer, which has been the same for so many years, will have changed forever.
Columbia and Howard County have many summer camp options, which is a good thing for working parents who need summer child care coverage. For some these camps are essential. For others they are enrichment, which means that somebody, somehow, is able to stay home with the kids. My husband and I are both teachers. We’ve been able to be home during the summers for the most part, and a week or two of summer camp has been a special treat for our daughter, a luxury.
For some of my friends, being able to stay home with their children in the summer would be the luxury. It all depends on your circumstances.
Through the years we’ve had experiences with the HCPSS GT Enrichment Camps (not even sure that’s what they are called) Slayton House Camp of the Arts, Kids on Campus at HCC, and, lastly, the camp program at Roundhouse Theatre in Bethesda. All gave our daughter exposure to new experiences and ideas. For our musical theatre-driven kid, Slayton House and Roundhouse have been the most influential.
I wrote about her experiences at Slayton House here.
It is in the summer that I see the highest level academic thinking from her. That is where she does her best GT work. By this I mean she wants to stretch herself. She strives to improve from one day to the next. When embedded in the world of musical theatre she wants to be better than just passing. She gives it the extra effort: practicing lines at home, researching the musicals online, sitting down at the piano to go over music and even figuring out her own keyboard parts.
She talks with us about what she is learning. She gets ideas. Creative ideas. She writes about them on the ipad. She gets ideas for other musicals, ideas for short stories based on musicals. The other evening she was excited about what you would need to do to adapt the musical "Bye Bye Birdie" to the present day. It led to a fascinating discussion about changes in our culture and in the popular music scene.
So today is the last day of summer camp. I’m not ready to call it the last day of childhood, but then, I’m not sure one can ever name such a day. I do know that these experiences have been precious to my daughter and that she will carry them with her always, wherever adulthood may take her.