The first time that I sent my first child to Sky Ranch summer camp, I recalled my own days as a camper at Sky Ranch.
I was a "city girl" who first attended Sky Ranch at 6 years old and continued as a camper for the next 9 years. From those years as a camper, I knew that it was going to be warm (okay - hot!) and anything in the water - the lake, pool or waterslide is the place to be!
So as a mom, I knew to pack several swimsuits because your swim suit is not always dry from the previous day. And I knew that by the end of the week my trunk was going to smell like the lake - just accept it! It happened every year no matter what I did.
From my camper days, I knew that being sweaty and a little dirty all the time was just a part of life at camp. Again, just accept it. It realized that it made me "the city girl" a better person somehow to be able to accept myself as sticky and dirty. Plus, everyone else it too.
As a mom, I knew to not fuss if at camp pick-up my child was messy, uncombed or dirty. You try looking good with a pile of crumpled clothes that smell like the lake and are probably a little damp because you threw the wet dirty clothes in with the clean ones!
Keeping my wet clothes separate from my dry clothes is a useful life lesson to learn and actually helpful when I was in college (which is a little scary!)...and is best learned through experience!
From camper days, I knew the most important time of day to me was cracker barrel (snack time) and it was the time that I could buy candy or ice cream myself. No parent controlled my purchase! I was free to pick! It was empowerment somehow!
And I knew the worst feeling was to be told that you didn't have enough money in your account the last day. Truly heart-breaking!
As a mom, I knew to put more than the recommended amount in the account so it did not run out.
As a camper, I remembered that a very special bond that develops each year with each cabin of girls and the counselors. It is the bond that you get when you have gone through an experience that strengthens you. The friendships formed impacted me for the better.
As a mom, I knew that by sending my children to camp there would be an inward growth that I would not necessarily see right away, but they were learning.
From my camper days, I learned two important lessons. I was the oldest child and more cautious, it was tough for me to leave my family and stay somewhere else. I learned to trust God to take care of me. He is always present, even when my family is not. I also learned that other people really do care for me and that I will be okay. Both truths helped me when I moved away for college.
As a mom, I knew that I was giving my children that same hope and encouragement of wherever you go, you are not alone. God is always with you and there are others that God sends into your life who love you and you will be okay. Such simple, but valuable life lessons to learn!