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?
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