Thursday, April 30, 2009

Aw crap, it's summer again

This time every year I start to obsess about where my girls will go to summer camp. I like our daycare. They’re organized and love what they do. But with daycare, let’s face it, after a few years your kids have been to Super Expensive Theme Park, the Mosquito Nature Preserve, Land of Bouncy Pounce, and World of Ubiquitous Soft Drink enough times to run the tours themselves.

Also, DramaQueen is going to absolutely die, I tell you, if forced to remain there all summer.

The summer camps have been promoting themselves for several months now. Fliers come home from school. The local parent mags publish summer camp editions. There are summer camp expos at the local malls. You get the impression that there are endless choices. Yum yum yum. Language camps and art camps and circus camps. You could create a camp sampler – a week of clay sculpture here, a week of soccer there. This could be the most enriching summer of your child’s life!

And then the winnowing begins. The cool art camp is 80 miles away in a section of town you’ve never even heard of. The soccer camp runs from 10 am to 3 pm. The gymnastics camp SAYS it has before and after care – if you work from 9 am to 5 pm and your office is 10 minutes from the camp site (BTW, no one in this state works 9-5 because your lunch hour is unpaid). The cool performing arts camp is $460 a week. The reasonably priced funky-sounding camp is…definitely funky, and not in a good way. The drama camp starts at age 9, so Firecracker would have to go to a different location and, on yeah, it doesn’t have before or after care EITHER. (I’m really ticked off about the lack of before and after care options. I suppose that’s why most people end up at daycares, and why if you go to the Aquarium on a weekday you’ll find yourself among 32 field trip groups, each with their own brightly colored t-shirts.)

I’m now down to two options:

Option A. A small, family-owned, sports facility offering a smattering of gymnastics, cheerleading, hip-hop, martial arts and swimming. Relatively close but in the opposite direction from my work. Refreshingly minimalist when it comes to forms and requirements. No obvious whack jobs on the premises.

Option B. The Y. Different specialty camps every week as well as equestrienne and swim camps. Very reasonable, even for non-members. Not too far but in the worst possible location as far as traffic flow. Not entirely sure I will be able to exit the parking lot during rush hour. Suspect commute could be longer than anticipated via Google Maps. Weirdly complicated lunch/snack purchase program. There seem to be three or four different configurations for lunch, lunch + snack, snacks + drink, smoothie Thursday, pizza Friday, all of which has to be nailed down and paid for in cash on the Monday of camp week. Yeah, right. The base level is pack you kid a lunch, 20 oz of water and THREE snacks. My kids will starve, probably.

DramaQueen is vehemently opposed to any sort of martial arts participation. I don’t know why. She wants Option B just to spite me for even considering Option A. She also has some odd notion that she wants to go to horse camp. This from the girl who complained about the smelly farm field trip. Firecracker, however, wants option A because she saw the students practicing Tae Kwan Do and she can’t wait to get in there and do some kickin’, which I think would be really cute.

I'll be glad when the decision is made.


  1. Won't your job allow you to have any flexibility with your hours during the summer?

  2. I have a drama queen, too, and usually she complains about something one day and then the next she's IN LOVE with it. If you're really leaning toward option one, do what's best for you. We put our daughter in karate for a year and it was a great experience for her. The flexibility alone is great.