The summer camp stakes have risen.
My kids are going to old-fashioned day camp this summer, the kind where you make lanyards and do free swim and drink Kool-Aid. Back when I was a kid, this was what kids did. Your mom didn’t have to feel guilty about it. In fact, for what it cost, she might even have felt pleased she was giving you a relaxing summer experience.
It’s no longer the ’70’s, unfortunately.
My girlfriend heard about my plans. She said, “Day camp? That sounds GREAT.” Apparently, great for other people’s kids.
“What are your kids doing?” I asked, innocently. Her kids are 5 and 7.
Luckily, we had some time.
“They’ll be on the swim team at the club, so they’ll be training two hours a day. Then they’re going to some specialty camps: soccer, baseball and tennis, and of course they’re continuing their piano lessons weekly. I also have Maya practicing reading with her tutor so she doesn’t have any summer learning loss.”
My girlfriend is not alone. Many of my clients and other members of my social circle are making similar plans.
Hopefully the kids will enjoy all these activities. For parents and nannies, scheduling and schlepping kids to all of this sounds exhausting.
Again, I wish some schools people could take the lead encouraging kids to be kids and families to relax. Unfortunately, the truth is that the private schools take a hypocritical position. They love seemingly laid back parents who have miraculously spawned gifted athletes and artists. Even kindergarten applicants have an edge when they have some learned skills.
That’s why enrichment continues nonstop, now all year long.