Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Inside Scoop on Summer Camps

With summer just starting, many parents are playing the back-and-forth game of whether or not to send their children to summer camp. Not only did I attend a few different camps, but I've worked a few myself! My very first camp I worked at was Rawhide Ranch in Bonsall, CA. It was a week long overnight camp and I was lucky enough to be with the youngest girls. This camp was ranch and horseback riding camp. Campers had riding lessons twice a day along with animal science, horse science, and vaulting(gymnastics on horseback). They also got to choose four different elective classes to take during the day, including archery, riflery, swimming, crafts, climbing tower, intro to rodeo, roping, farm life, country dancing, drama, pony carting, creative writing, crafts and much more! While I was a counselor there, I taught riding and dabbled in a little of everything with electives.

I loved every day of my job. Each day came with challenges, but at the end of the day, I felt good knowing my girls were in my care. I had girls who were terrified of horses upon arrival. At the end of the week, they placed in the top five at the rodeo. I had girls who were shy and didn't speak to anyone, including me. At the end of the week they had met penpals for life. There were many nights I stayed up with girls who cried to me about how much they missed their mom. But at the end of the week they cried when they had to leave. I watched these girls grow up in a matter of days! 

I'm not a mother yet, but I know one thing about myself and that's that I was meant to work with children. Without them in my life, I would be a gloomy and miserable person. I won't know what it's like to leave your children with a complete stranger for a week, but I promise you, with the right camp, your children will never experience anything like it. You will see a new spark in your their eyes that wasn't there. You children may even discover things about themselves they never knew! Like they could ride a horse in a rodeo and win a blue ribbon! Or shot a bow and arrow. These skills are something that they will remember forever.

How do I know this? Because as I counselor, I learned things about myself that these girls taught me. For thirteen weeks I met amazing little girls who got a little taste of independence. Their parents trusted me with their most precious gift, and I thank them for that! Always check into your camp and read reviews about them. I'm not saying just ship your children off anywhere. But when you find a camp that clicks, it may change your childrens life. These amazing little people left after a week as little women! 

The summer I worked at Rawhide Ranch will always be one of my favorite summers. I made many friends myself and a few older campers I've got to see grow up and even graduate high school, now! That's amazing to me. Summer camp, whether you choose overnight or even a day camp, is something I honestly believe every child should experience. Happy camping, Ranch hands(and readers).

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