A Fall Free Refresh

Now that the summer has come to an end and the kids are back to school, well some of ours, the refreshing has stopped. At this point, the adjustment period is over and the kids are in school mode. I can’t say my kids are excited to return to school but I am ready for them to go back. I live for my kids but the four-week break has been long enough. I’m not sure whose crazy idea it was to have Rosh Hashana on the week the kids return to school but lucky for me, we live in such a Jewish town, my kids do not go back until the 9th! Woohoo, another whole week to entertain the kiddies!

The thing I do not miss most about the summer is the feeling of having to run to my computer the second I wake up to log into bunk1 and see my kids smiling face. Zach’s camp posts pictures once a day at 10pm but of each group once a week. Meaning Zach’s groups (all the 4th graders) pics were posted on every Tuesday of each week, the 5th graders on Wednesday, etc. However, there may be a shot of him on any day of the week so I always looked to see if maybe he squeezed into one. Personally, I am glad the camp does it this way. I do not have to deal with the “refresh syndrome” that seems to have taken over so many people’s lives in the summer. I am not going to tell you that I did not check the computer every morning, I did! But I did feel some sort of relief that I did not have to check all day. One of my closest friends sends her son to Greylock. Greylock is a camp that is steeped in tradition and for all of its 97 years, Greylock has kept to a no picture policy. I haven’t asked my friend but I have to assume the hardest part for her and the no picture policy is “seeing” and “hearing” about everybody else’s camp pictures, updates and reposts on Facebook. She has no clue what her son was doing all summer except for when she spoke to him a few times throughout the session.

I have to tell you, there is something nice about a camp sticking with the traditions it was founded on and as a parent I think there is something to say about entrusting the camp, you so thoroughly chose, with your child. Look, I am positive there are people out there who are STRONGLY against the no picture policy and could not go through one day without checking their phone, iPad, computer for Campminder pics. I am sure a camp that does not post pictures would immediately be a camp on someone’s out list.

I see both sides. I understand wanting to have a sense of reassurance knowing your kid is alive, happy and in good hands. I also understand what it means to send your kid away for 7 weeks and give up a little of the helicopter parenting that has taken over so many of us moms and dads. I know I would have had a tough time this summer if Zach’s camp did not post pictures, especially because it was his first summer but I also know it would not have been a deal breaker for me when I chose his camp.

There is one thing I do not and can not understand. There are parents who tell their kids, I swear this is true, for every picture they smile in or put a thumbs up, they will receive $1.00. In fact, if they have a sibling at the camp and they take a picture together, the parents will pay double! Um, WHAT? Do you really find it necessary to pay your kid off or bribe them with money? What is happening people? I can be sure that most of the people who are reading this, that went to camp, know YOUR parents never had the opportunity to check up on YOU online. I asked my mom how did she do it? She said and I quote “We just did, we didn’t know any different”. That’s right, they didn’t because there was no INTERNET! I am sure there were still crazy moms who called and checked in but you just had to have faith in the camp you chose. 90% of the camps now have conformed and post pictures. Some post pictures multiple times a day, some post once a day and some post once a week. It is rare to find a camp that still abides to the no picture policy. There are a few in PA, a few in Maine, a few in the Berkshires, a few in Minnesota, maybe one in Vermont and a handful in Canada. I did not call all 6,500 sleep away camps but I would love to have an exact number on this. It seems as though those camps are a dying breed and with the invention of the internet and Facebook, parents are requesting and camps are conforming.


I am not going to get into the webcam that “some” camps have started installing and the parents that sit and watch it all day waiting for their kid to walk by the one spot where the cam is installed.  You can only imagine. I am praying this remains at just a few camps and doesn’t become the new Bunk1 of the future. It won’t be long before the kid’s phone calls turn into Facetime. It won’t be long before the letter policy turns into email only. It won’t be long but I can wait.

I know everybody is off the camp topic and all of you are into school mode but for all of us who spent so many days & nights this summer refreshing the pictures, Isn’t it nice to have a break? Happy Labor Day and I hope all of your kids have an easy back to school!

Share Your Thoughts

  1. Hi Amy-
    Another good post.
    I am one of those parents that bribes my son for the photos. I’m not proud of it, but as much as he LOVES camp when he’s there, he seems to go through a “I don’t want to go back” phase every year which always makes me nuts. Also over the past few years there were days that he wasn’t in any photos at all. Can you imagine going through 400-500 photos and none of your kid? (Canadensis posts all photos every day). You just start to worry and think the worst. So I pay .50 cents a photo. Funny, Dylan and I JUST went through them and I owe him 62 bucks!
    Canadensis also posts a daily TV show telling us the weather, what the menu of the day is and provides a cute recap of the days & nights events from the day before. They even broadcast Color War Sing live which is amazing especially for a person like me who never went to camp.

    Would I have sent Dylan to a camp without all this? Probably, I didn’t really know about it all until he went.

    All of my friends went to camp and I wrote handwritten letters to them and never knew what camp looked like, what their friends looked like, their bunk etc. Got to admit, there was something nice about all that.

    But I hear you loud and clear and I too am relieved that I no longer have to weed through a gagillion photos or hear one more time that breakfast was french toast sticks, lunch was tacos and dinner was Hamburgers and Hot Dogs. It’s a great perk, but also a massive time sucker!


    September 1, 2013 • 5:53 pm •
  2. This was the first year (after six) that I didn’t check the photos several times a day. I think it had to do with the fact that this is the first summer I am not working. When I was working, it was a quick way to take a break and bring some “home life” into the workday, which I desperately needed. Even still, I feel relieved, as I have every summer, to not have to check the website now that camp has ended. I don’t get the payment thing — I want to see my son in candid shots – and not posing to be happy to get a reward. AND – I am SO ready for school to start. We don’t start till the 9th, either, and these post-camp weeks feel endless!

    September 1, 2013 • 9:24 pm •