One of Lily's classmates, M, is the great-granddaughter of the founder of one of Texas' premiere summer camps. M's dad works at the camp all summer, so each year her whole family moves up to Burnet to live at camp. We've been fortunate enough to have been invited up twice to spend a day there with M and her family.
The first time was for M's birthday party, and we hung out in the Lazy River, a big moat-like pool with a current - kind of like a lazy river. There's also a big water slide into the pool, which the kids love, and a beach area that's perfect for the littler ones like Campbell.
We went up again yesterday, and this time we pretty much had the run of the place. Ella got to try out lots of slides, a water obstacle course, blobs (huge inflated things that you bounce on and then fall in the lake), and diving boards, just to name a few.
Ever since our first visit to the camp in June, Ella has been lobbying for us to send her there next year. Our explanations of how much the camp costs and our budget for such things have had no effect in dampening her enthusiasm. The other day she asked me if she saved all her money for a year would it be enough to go. I hated to have to tell her no.
Yesterday's adventure may have calmed her down a bit. While she loved every minute she was there and hated to leave - even eating in the chow hall was an adventure - she started to grasp a bit more of the reality of camp: like living away from her parents for two weeks, like not being able to leave the camp and go other places for two weeks, like having to abide by the camp schedule for two weeks.
She and I were standing at the top of the water slide waiting our turn when she asked about the camp schedule. "So, you have to go where they want you to go? What if it's your time to ride horses but you want to stay in your cabin and read?" When I told her that it didn't matter if she wanted to read, she had to go to horseback riding, she thought for a moment before saying, "But where's the fun in that?" I just shrugged and told her it's the way camp works.
But silently, I agreed with her. I don't think I'd do well with all of the organized "fun." There are parts of summer camp I'd absolutely love - horseback riding, swimming in the pools, jumping on the blobs, afternoon rest time. But there are parts I'd absolutely hate - forced cheer at nightly campfires, arts and crafts (save me from any activity involving popsicle sticks and lanyards), volley ball, swimming in the lake (I don't like slimy things). And I can guarantee I wouldn't like being moved from one activity to another on a schedule.
Still, I think Ella would totally love camp. We just need to find one we can afford. In the meantime, we'll keep hoping for invites up to this camp for the day, where we can do what we want on our own schedule - no popsicle sticks in sight.