Day Camp 101

This past week Brendan had his day camp.  He was scheduled to take three classes over at one of the local elementary schools, and would be gone at camp 3 hours a day.  When I scheduled his classes there were multiple elementary schools to pick from and I thought the one I picked was the closest one to our house.  Evidently I was incorrect because it was actually on the other side of town near where a bunch of my friends grew up.

Once I figured that out I was still confident I could make it to the school with no problem.  I’d been to all of their houses enough growing up that I was quite familiar with that section of town even if I don’t get over that way very often.  The biggest downfall was that with traffic the way it was during the times I had to drop Brendan off and pick him up meant that it took me close to half an hour to get to the school from my house.

Looking back on it now, it was totally worth it.  Since Brendan loves school so much I thought this camp would be right up his alley.  It’s offered by our local community college and allows kids to take classes based on their interests.  Brendan took a class about the brain, the 5o states, and a cooking class.  I wasn’t sure how much I would like the camp at first because during the registration process they managed to mis-type both his name (they wrote down Brandon) and our address (which caused a problem when they went to invoice us for the classes).  How they could get the information wrong when I spelled every word for them and they repeated it back to me is a mystery, but somehow they managed it.

So I definitely had some reservations as we walked into the school on the first morning.  But however bad their registration office is was made up ten fold in the camp itself.  Everything was clearly labeled, and they had signs haging everywhere to clearly show the kids which classroom they needed to be in.  The staff were all extremely friendly and helpful as well, reassuring nervous parents, helping kids figure out where to go, and generally keeping traffic flowing.

We got to camp 30 minutes early on that first day since I wasn’t sure what all needed to be done to check Brendan in.  We got his schedule and wrote down his room numbers on a sticky note for him to carry with him.  Then we walked through the hallways together and found all three of his classrooms.  Once we’d located them once I took him back to the entrance of the school and told him to walk me through his schedule in order.  Using his note to remind himself, Brendan walked through the schedule with ease.

I had him pick out a place that he wanted to meet me when camp was over and headed for home.  It was almost not worth it to go home because by the time I got there I only had 2 hours before I needed to head back and pick Brendan up.  But seeing as I had nothing better to do we headed home and I worked on the housecleaning during that time.

Brendan had an absolute blast in the camp.  Our car ride home from camp was always filled with stories about what he did that day.  How they got to make helmets for their egg (his was named Eye-Brawl Junior of course) and drop them to see if their egg would survive the impact, or how they got to make their very own island out of clay, or how they made omeletes in cooking class.

Each day brought new and exciting adventures and he would always be bursting to go back the next day because it sounded even cooler than the one before.  They’d get to disect a sheep’s brain on Friday, his clay island now had it’s own flag and flower, and they were going to make pizza.

Thursday afternoon he came home bubbling with excitment because in his 50 states class they were all supposed to dress up like tourists, and they were going to have a little luau party.  So we dug out an old camera that no longer works, dressed him in a t-shirt Matt bought him on one of his trips in Texas and gave him a pair of sunglasses to wear on top of his head.  He was so thrilled to dress the part of the tourist and play along in this activity.

He even made a few friends while in camp.  Some boys in his Brain class were into Skylanders just like him and they spent much of the camp comparing notes on the best characters and of course the next generation of the game which is slated to be released later this year.  He also got the phone number of a little girl in his cooking class.  I asked him if he gave her his phone number as well and he said he wanted to, but that he couldn’t remember it at the time.  I guess I know what we will be working on this summer…

My only complaint was that the registration snafu spilled over into the camp itself.  The instructors had all gotten sheets that said my son’s name was Brandon and that’s what they called him all week long.  I asked Brendan if he corrected them, and he said he didn’t.  When I asked him why he said that he didn’t want to make a big deal of it, but that he much preferred to be called Brendan instead of Brandon.  Then he proceeded to blame me for giving him such a confusing name.

I’m already looking forward to next summer and am planning on putting Brendan through this camp again.  There are plenty of classes left that he hasn’t taken yet, and I can pretty much guarantee that he’d have a good time taking them.  Cameron will be old enough to attend the camp next year as well, and as much as he hung on Brendan’s every word while he talked about his days at camp I think he’d have fun taking some of these classes as well.

Despite my overall satisfaction with the program I am not sad to see it end.  Driving that far out of my way twice a day was enough to drive me batty.  Next year we might have to look into the schools a little closer and get one a bit closer to home.

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