Things Your Camp Dean Won’t Tell You (Parents’ Edition)

1. Sometimes you think it’s a good thing to take your kids off their ADHD medication for the week they are at camp. You think the activities and fresh air will be enough to counter the hyperactivity. Well, people, I’m here to tell you that that is so not a good idea. Why? Just trust me. Seriously, trust me.


2. When you write on your kids’ forms “sisters — please put in separate cabins” but then show up with kids in tow and only one suitcase for them to share, it’s sort of a problem. Especially when that causes me to have to shuffle other kids around and thus upset the perfectly even groups I just spent weeks perfecting.




3. When your very busy kid has to leave Monday night for a soccer game, Tuesday morning for band practice, Wednesday afternoon for big sister’s gymnastics meet, Thursday at lunch for a soccer party, and then for good Friday evening (right in the middle of communion service) because their aunt is getting married in Ann Arbor the next day and you have to “get on the road,” I will find your child’s sign-out form and be waiting for you at the dining hall (no matter what else I was supposed to do at that moment) so you can come and go as you please (and I will be waiting with a smile, mind you) but really, maybe your kid is too busy this week to be at camp.


4. You really don’t need to give me that “look” in the registration line w
hen I tell you your kid is in the cabin on the top of the hill. I know it’s steep. I’ve been in that cabin myself many times. Someone has to be in it, and if it wasn’t your kid, then some other kid’s parent would be giving me the evil eye right now.


5. Yes, I do love your kid. And every camper is special. But, to be honest, the reason I know your kid’s name is that when I was waiting for the parent in front of you to move through the registration line, I read the “name” line upside-down on the form you’re holding.


6. It’s not that I’m not excited to register your child for the week of camp. It’s just that the letter camp sent to you said registration starts at 2:00 pm, and it’s 8:36 am right now.


7. I see you giving your kid back his cell phone immediately after you step out of the registration line. I know you think you’re doing the right thing by “getting around” the no-cell-phone-at-camp policy, but all you’ve done is a) taught your kid that the rules I am trying to enforce don’t matter and b) made it necessary for me to force his counselor to be the “bad guy” and take the phone away later.

There’s a reason we don’t want your child to bring electronics to camp (especially cell phones). It’s not just to be mean. Or nature-y. Or whatever you think we are. Your daughter won’t be able to immerse herself in the camp experience if she’s tethered to her friends from home via social media. Your weepy son will get over his homesickness much faster if he’s not talking to you or waiting for your next text. When we ask if your child brought a phone to camp and then instruct him or her to hand it over to you, please back us up on this one.


8. Sometimes it kills us to sign out your kid to you. We know they’re hurting at home, and we wish we could rescue them for not just one but 52 weeks out of the year.

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