A lot of parents are divided about summer camps. Are they a good idea? The cost alone can put many off, especially if you add in more than one child. The driving to and from can also put you off.
But what if they love camps and really want to go?
The biggest thing about camps for me is leaving your children with strangers. Yes okay, they have child protection, but coming from a childcare background does not mean they understand it. Will they take care of your children, make sure they do not get hurt? Probably.
But will they take care of their mental health and well being?
This I am not convinced about. There are many child activity franchises coming from the UK and the US lately. Anyone can buy into these with no previous experience and purely for profit.
They can do a few online courses that give them certificates and that’s how they are qualified. They are using the name of the franchise as their reference to look after your children properly.
I am not convinced.
Regarding summer camps; I have had a bad experience recently with a camp and one of my children. He attended knowing no-one. This to me was incredibly brave. I hung around a little longer than I should and he told me to go!
After his first day, I removed him from the camp due to excessive bullying. He was actually willing to go back, but my heart could not take it. This bullying was carried out not in the dressing rooms or out of view.
It was carried out in full view and earshot of the trainers. Two older boys against one younger boy. A horrendous situation to find your child has been in.
Degrading him and name calling that can have such a negative impact. When things like this happen, I slowly turn green and become the ‘Mum Hulk’. So yes, I wanted to smash the bullies heads together to teach them a lesson. But that’s not right is it?
The thoughts did give me satisfaction though, I must admit.
I took me time to calm down. Then I made a call and got an email address to write a letter of complaint. I found writing the complaint made it clearer and I could better express the horrid experience my son had had.
I did receive a full refund, but money cannot buy happiness or professionalism. I did get an apology and two phone calls. I accepted both.
This is a very popular and well-known establishment for summer camps, and their response was very quick. Their HR were very professional to deal with.
So what happened to the bullies?
I have no idea. I hope they were expelled from the camp and banned for life. They need to know that that behaviour is not acceptable, and will not be tolerated.
I put my son into another camp at his local school where I know the teachers and that they would look after my child, probably better than I could! This is not a summer job for these teachers but an all-year-round calling.
That week ended and the despair faded, thank God. My kids have had a super experience at the school camp. A sad situation turned around and became a good thing as my son had so much more fun. There was a surge in his confidence, happiness and behaviour that week due to the positive experience at the school camp.
I do think camps are a good idea for children who suffer with confidence and social issues.
It will help build their confidence. My youngest girl went from not attending first day at camp due to nerves, to being the first up at the talent show singing a hit from The Greatest Showman in front of everyone! Amazing result!
So the lesson I have learned this summer is to send your children where you know their physical and mental well being are the first priority. Keeping it local and to after school clubs they attend during the year is the best way to ensure they have a good time.
And here’s hoping we will all make it through in one piece and with our sanity intact…Happy Summer!