Way back in February, I wrote about why I was choosing to send my nine-year-old fourth grader for the first ever Two-Week Experience at Camp Cedarbrook. It was an easy decision for me at the time, but now that we’ve done it, it’s time to evaluate the decision. Was it worth it? Did it meet my expectations? Will we do it again?
My daughter wanted more camp. More friends, more activities, more s’mores… Any two weeks would have increased the quantity of camp.
I wanted better camp. Not that it isn’t great in smaller quantities, but I believed that this particular session would increase the quality of her camp experience.
According to my daughter, it was awesome. She loved everything about it. She built strong friendships with the girls in her cabin. She had good spiritual conversations with her counselors. She tried things she had never done before. She did things AGAIN because she loves them.
As Insider Mom, I have the privilege of not just hearing her side of it, but also getting a live sneak peek. And I got the gossip about her from camp staff.
As for the sneak peek: I managed to do that without my daughter seeing me. So what I saw was unfiltered. I watched her perform in the talent show with her cabin and participate in the closing campfire on Friday night. When we revealed ourselves the next morning and visited with her, what she most wanted was to introduce us to her friends. She calls camp her “home away from home,” and she was not the only camper to say that that weekend.
Part of the Two-Week Session was an overnight wilderness trip experience. The overnight varied based on the age of the girls. My daughter didn’t have to hike very far, but they camped in a lean-to without restroom facilities nearby. Man-made restroom facilities, that is. In talking to her Division Director (DD) when I was visiting, I found out that she was not happy about using a hole in the ground as a toilet. She didn’t want to do it. And she didn’t think she could do it. In fact, she was pretty upset. Her DD said she was considering walking her back to the bathroom, but felt she could wait a little longer. My daughter is pretty proud of the fact that she overcame her fear and took care of business out there in the woods. And she would do it again. She LOVED that overnight experience. I think the camp staff were able to wait it out and let her succeed, because by then, they knew her pretty well. To me, this is one of the great advantages of two weeks. Staff members can do even more to help our girls grow because they get to know them so much better in two weeks than one.
As her mom, these were the two highlights of her camp experience for me:
- The ways that she was challenged to dig a little deeper, go a little further, do something she had never done before and was even afraid to do. I think this was a direct result of being there for the Two-Week Experience.
- The deep community that was built and that she belonged to. I think this was both a result of being with the same group of people for two weeks and of some changes that have been made because Camp Cedarbrook is being intentional about doing even better in this area.
The leadership at Camp Cedarbrook talks a lot about being purposeful about getting even better at what they do best. Helping girls to grow in a safe, strong community is what they do best. This is what camp did for me. And this is what they are doing for my daughters. I can’t wait for next year.