Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Camp Should Be Running, Swimming & Crafts Not Movie Tickets

One of the fun things about summer - the $1 movie.  Granted, it's at 10 am, so there's no sleeping in and still a rush to get there on time, but to get me and my four into the movie for $5? It's a pretty good compromise.  So that's what we did today, went to go see Despicable Me 2.

The theatre was full of summer campers - rows and rows of little kids in matching tee-shirts.  And when I say "little" kids, I do mean little - they were like 2-3 years old.  Aside from the camp leaders who spent half the movie walking through the aisles distributing popcorn and juice and "whispering" loudly to the children, totally oblivious to the rest of us trying to get our $1 worth, as a parent, I was wondering if the kids' parents really approved of their kids spending their camp time sitting in a movie theatre.  Time when they could be getting some sun, playing with the other campers, or even learning their alphabet.

I know, I know - you're thinking "but you were there with your kids!" and it sounds a bit hypocritical to say that summer camps shouldn't take kids to the movies. But in my defense, here are my points:
1 - They are MY kids. If I want them to spend their summer morning at the movies, that's the choice I get to make.

2 - If/when I send my kids to camp, I pay for them to have a better, more active experience than I would give them at home. The camp checks are written so kids can run, jump, swim, hit balls, ride horses, build popsicle stick picture frames, and eat messy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We can plop them down in front of a screen for free at home - or for our own $1.

I've actually been pretty annoyed when one of my kids came home from camp and reported that their activities included taking a "field trip" to the nearby fast food establishment for lunch.  Really? If you're going to put my kid on a bus, then do something educational or at least entertainingly worthwhile. Take them to the park or to the zoo. Or even a field trip to the library for reading time or a puppet show.  Even when they've done after-school activities and come back to tell me that they played on the computer with their friends, I feel that's a waste. One thing my kids (and most kids) don't need is more time to goof off playing games on the computer.  When I send my kids to an activity, I expect them to get more out of it then that time spent with me at my direction.  Yes, when I pay for an activity, I expect the service providers to be, for those few hours, a better parent than I am. That's money well spent.

What do you think? Does it matter to you what your kids are doing in summer camp?

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