Several months ago, I was talking with a few of the moms at my daughter’s school. We were discussing options for summer camp. The main consensus was that no one LOVED where they sent their child last year, or in my case, my daughter could not return because of the ages accepted.
All in the same boat, we were trying to figure out what we would do as camp registrations were opening and a game plan needed to be created. In passing, one of the moms said too bad we can’t pull together and make our own camp. We all kind laughed and moved on. But the more we each thought about it: why not?! So we started the conversation. How would this work?
So that is exactly what we did. I contacted my usual babysitter and a few family friends in college and high school. We created a team of four “counselors.” We met with the counselors, shared with them our ideas and then we left them to create a plan. They did their homework and created a master calendar and schedule of activities including water play, arts-n-crafts, cooking actives, etc. They created a daily schedule to keep the kids on task, similar to how they are set up at school. It even includes lunch and naptimes.
The parents also did homework. We ended up with 8 participating kids and a mix of full-time campers and part-time campers. We determined what the cost was per day and then backed out what it would cost each parent per week. The price ended up being pretty comparable to most summer camps.
We even factored in additional dollars up front for arts-n-craft supplies. We each put in $25 and told the counselors to manage the funds for the crafts and let us know when they need more.
The parents organized a master calendar for location and snacks. We decided that we would rotate homes throughout the summer so each parent hosts a week of the children at their home. We did this so that no one family would take the brunt of the camp and the kids would have a new environment and fresh toys to play with each week.
For snacks, we are rotating weeks as well. On your given snack weeks, you send snacks and drinks for all of the kids for the week. And, each child comes with their own lunch each day.
We met twice with the counselors before camp started and tied up loose ends. We talked through our concerns and things to watch out for with our individual kids. I think we were all a little nervous to see how this experiment would go.
But, we are one week in to this “summer camp,” and it is going really well. My daughter is taking two hour naps and going to bed an hour and a half earlier than normal. She is exhausted from being so busy all day. And in the mornings she jumps out of bed and can’t wait to go.
The tears shed so far have been when the moms show up to pick them up early. We may be crazy, but so far so good!