October 31, 2012

Hello Muddah... Hello Faddah...



My youngest boy, H, left this morning to go on an end-of-year school camp. He's away for three days. I knew he was fairly excited about the whole thing but this was confirmed when I heard him get up at 6.15am this morning. That's early, even for him!


It's not the first time he's ever been to camp though. We clocked that particular milestone last year. I can still remember the moment he arrived back, my eyes eventually finding him in the sea of kids streaming off the bus. Biggest. Smile. Ever. As he drew closer I asked: "So, how was it?" Two arms wrapped around me tightly for a big hug. Then he said the best three words: "It was AWESOME!"


He'd had, by his account, just about the best time of his life. Rope climbing, archery, boomerang throwing (we are Aussies, after all), orienteering, walks in the bush, he'd loved it all. Sleeping in a cabin with all of his mates. Laughing at each other's jokes (and suspect loud noises coming out of a sleeping bag in the dark). Trying new things for the first time. It was gorgeous. Unpacking his bag at home there was more awesomeness to see. They had written stories of their adventures for the parents, accompanied by beautiful hand-drawn illustrations. I had a lump in my throat by the time I'd finished reading it.


Because he'd been to camp, just like any other kid. And coped with a different bed, different food and different routines in a very different environment. Without his family. And had thrived and come out the other side, perfectly FINE. Just like other kids do.


It was a bit of a watershed moment in the life of an ASD kid, really.


And now my big boy is away to do it all again. His teacher told me he will have a brilliant time and I know she's quite right. For a start, today's activities after arrival at camp included canoeing, just the perfect thing to do given the hot, sunny weather we're having at the moment. He'll love it. I can't wait to hear about this and all the other adventures he'll have had by the time he comes home.



What do you remember about school camps? Have your children ever been on one? What was the best thing about it?


8 comments:

  1. We are in an International School in West Africa which isn't the safest place for 'local camps' so I bravely saw my 12 year old off this year for 6th Grade Camp to Switzerland (a mere 6 hour flight to Amsterdam followed by the connection to Geneva) ;-) I missed him so much that my heart ached but it was worth it to see the absolute joy on his face when he returned a week later saying he had the BEST TIME EVER!!

    My school camps (in country Victoria), were a bus ride away - and equally as exciting, so getting my head around to sending my child off to another country took some convincing. Next year is Greece - I will cry again but he already can't wait to go ;-)

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    1. Wow - Switzerland for a camp destination sounds pretty awesome! And my goodness, life in West Africa must be a big change from here - how long have you and your family been there?

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    2. We have been here for 2 years which is 2 years too many ;-)

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  2. What I remember most about school camps were the early rises and being forced to eat food I didn't want to eat!

    Deb

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    1. It's amazing what you'll eat when you're hungry, isn't it? I think camps have changed a lot since I was a kid. For one thing, they don't have Camp Mums any more - my mother came with me on a couple of school camps and they used to make the food on site, food that most of us liked. You could go back for seconds... and thirds! Nowadays they ship it all in, so portion control is the order of the day! Not good news for some, lol.

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  3. We went to Narrabean, I think. I didn't particularly like school camps, not much of an outdoor person. My kids have enjoyed them though. We are old hands now with the eldest having been on 4 or 5 and the youngest completed her second this year.

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    1. I loved camp and my boys definitely do. H came back on Friday, very tired but happy - sounded like they had a brilliant time. He slept in until 9.30am the next morning though! :)

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  4. So pleased that he had a great time - look forward to hearing more. Must admit that I enjoyed going on the 4 School Camps as a Camp Mum with you and your brother. We all had a blast and I have many wonderful memories as well.

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