Summer Camp

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by North Carolina Tentmaker, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    My daughter leaves for camp today (she is 9). I am really worried about letting her go. We have never let her brothers go that young without my wife or myself being there. Anyone else feeling the same separation anxiety?

    It is a Christian Camp nearby (Truett Camp in Haysville NC). Is anyone familiar with this camp? Have you been or sent your kids? It seems to be a good camp and she has several friends going.
     
  2. mcdirector

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    I don't remember exactly when ours first started going to camp. *sigh* too much water under the old bridge. I do think the youngest went to an overnight camp with the church in the 4th grade the year we moved here. But it may have been in the 5th grade the next year. He was fine. He was fine absolutely anywhere he went ;) They always went to Laurel Ridge btw.

    I'm praying for her and your peace of mind right now.
     
  3. Servent

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    All my kids started camp at about 9, its really a trust Issue, I just prayed that God will watch over them. My youngest now 16 has gone on trips out of state and into Mexico, still praying.
     
  4. thomas15

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    My daughter has type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes from since she was 4 years old. At age 8 we sent her to diabetes camp (out of state) for 1 week. While I can understand your anxiety, if the camp is well run and staffed by caring professional people then you have nothing to worry about.

    My daughter returned to camp for the next 3 summers until other social activities started taking priority.
     
  5. Circuitrider

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    Our four boys (all now married) went to camp at age 8 or 9 going into third or fourth grade. It was a camp we knew well and well staffed. Our daughter went to another camp which we knew well that had a primary program for 1-3 graders. It was three days and had a well run program. When she went to camp, our daughter was having trouble with hair washing in the shower as she did not want to get her face wet. While at camp for three days she came home with clean hair and the hair washing problem solved. I see camp as a part of the natural process of separation of child from parent.:tear:

    Make sure the camp is well run, well staffed and then send the kids with no regrets. All of our kids made significant decisions at camp and three of my four boys were camp counselors during college.:thumbs:
     
  6. SaggyWoman

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    I haven't heard of the camp.

    I love summer camp. I used to take a church group of children to camp,and the ones we took had to have finished first grade and up. Usually, the nine year olds did okay--usually I was worried about homesickness, but if they have friends, and aren't the 7 year olds, we rarely had problems with it.

    And we always hand picked our adults who went with my group. Is it a church group she is with in the midst of the camp:
     
  7. SaggyWoman

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    On the other side of the coin, I think the parents suffered worse than the kids with separation anxiety!!!!! Freaks. LOL!! Just kidding. It is hard to let your children go!!
     
  8. TaterTot

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    Goodness. I am glad my kids arent old enough to want to go yet. I will have a hard time with it I am sure unless I can go too.
     
  9. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    I think your right.

    We dropped her off at 12 and I am sure she will be fine.

    No it is not a group from our church but she knows several of the girls going. I met her counselor and she seemed fine. My daughter knows at least half of the girls in her cabin.

    Your right circuitrider, it is a natural part of her growing up.

    With my boys I have always gone to camp with them as an adult staff member. I am going to camp with the boys for a week later this year. This is the first time I have left one of them without being somewhere around. And this is my daughter. For some reason that makes it worse.
     
  10. Joe

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    I would discourage anyone from sending their children to any camp until they are of high school age. It's common for many parents to attempt to comfort themselves by saying this person or that person will watch over their children.

    Why take chances?

    It's not worth it
     
    #10 Joe, Jun 18, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 18, 2007
  11. PastorSBC1303

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    I think it is great parents will let their kids go to camps. I was not allowed to go to any camp, even when I was in high school. I know my mom was just being protective, but I think that was a bit much.
     
  12. gb93433

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    You can hold them with a loose hand and allow them to fly or you can grip them so tight that you squeeze the life out of them. Parents who want to help their kids gain independence and grow up will allow them to fail and succeed. When mama bird kicks the little birds out of the nest it is time for them to fly.
     
  13. rbell

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    Chances?

    Elaborate, please...

    I'm not arguing that you send a kid off to completely fend for themselves, but this goes past where I would. Your brush is too broad.


    RBell <--------has taken 1,000+ kids to 24 summer camps over the years. Zero molestations. Zero disappearances. Handful of kids sent home early (because of their behavior). Scores of kids impacted for the Lord, and scores who grow relationally and emotionally.

    I choose/set up/conduct my camps very, very carefully. I carefully select adult counselors ("warm bodies only" need not apply). My kid/adult ratio is quite high. The days are overscheduled. Safety, good health practices, and common sense are followed. Transportation is as safe as can be made. Spiritual direction is clear, targeted, and relevant--but not manipulative. Staff are chosen with utmost care. Background checks are done. Goals, schedules, expectations, and procedures are very clearly spelled out to parents.

    Are we clear yet? :thumbs:
     
  14. Joe

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    Well, I agree it seems a bit much when one is in high school and still can't go to camp. Sounds like you didn't have a father at home so maybe that played into it. I am concerned we will hear those exact words out of our son's mouth when he is older. He complains he couldn't attend public school camp in JR High. I tried, but couldn't take time off to be a boys Counselor. He is now 16


    From what I have personally seen as a counselor at two church camps, I wouldn't encourage any child under 13 years old to attend. Thepressure to get "saved" and intrusive questions about the kids personal salvation, getting into too much detail regarding hell are a few concerns. Many folks say "they" don't pressure the kids, but that's an opinion. How many kids are actually saved or just complying with what the adults want so badly, sometimes it's hard to know.
    My wife was a camp counselor once while our son attended camp (he was 11 at the time). In the morning she heard thru the grapevine that our son's counselor had decided to sleep outdoors (about 10pm) with the kids in a hand made teepee without telling anyone. They just took off. She told the church to call another counselor to replace her position then took our son home immediately. She was livid, pretty shook up. She had a bad feeling about this counselor anyways. She felt he was "kissing up to her" too much. She has an uncanny ability to detect child molesters, not saying he was one but it's a bit freaky. Her parents told me this before we married, and it continues to this day. She doesn't look for the usual signs in the children by itself, but watches how the adults deal with her as an adult in their presence. Some of the camp participants were 5 year old children (kindergarden age) who cried for their parents for a week. Many had toileting accidents. How humiliating for some of these kids to have a stranger help them in the bathroom! One adult male counselor for 8 children. This counselor was not fingerprinted. He is someone we know pretty well, and we heard thru a friend of his that his wife accused him of molesting their children. Who knows if it's true, my wife doesn't think so but still....

    I am certain many children have a wonderful time at church camps. But I am on the fence about the younger ones attending
     
    #14 Joe, Jun 19, 2007
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  15. Joe

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    Yes, we're clear here rbell :thumbs:

    Nice to hear your camps are so organized, and you put so much effort into making it safe. that certainly cuts down on the molestations. Know most molestations are not reported, just a tid bit.

    But...I am still not advocating church camp until high school. I did have a great time being a Church Camp Counselor though. I am always happy to hear of kids who enjoy their church camp experiences. Maybe I would have thought differently had I attended your camps eh?
     
    #15 Joe, Jun 19, 2007
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  16. Joe

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    Most children are just not able to defend themselves properly until they are in high school. It's not a matter of holding them too tight, but ensuring they are not in a situation beyond what they can handle. Anything can happen at an overnighter while others are sleeping


    I hope squeezing the life out of our son is not the result. I'll let you know in a few years if we totally screwed him up (he is 16) :eek: !!!
     
    #16 Joe, Jun 19, 2007
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  17. rbell

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    Unsure if I agree that high school is a definitive "dividing line." Does self-defense enter the picture that prominently? How 'bout "leaving the scene?" A JH age kid can do that. Lots of this depends on the kid--physically, temperament. In addition...through background checks, sharp adult counselors, and a strict policy keeping "one on one" time out of the picture, this can be addressed pretty well.

    Staying out of the realm of the manipulative is a high priority for me. We don't do it. We don't allow it. But yes...there are camps in which it happens. Sad...but like I said, we've stayed away from it. (by carefully researching and choosing where we go (or if I put it together, choosing the camp pastor & leaders carefully)).

    A real tightrope to walk...being a discerning parent without inventing situations that aren't really there. Without being there, I have no basis for opinion. Obviously, I'm a strong believer in the staff of the camp having a certain appropriate "distance," and sleep time is one of those.

    But I must say...if the kids spent the night outside (a group, I assume)...I'm hesitant to even use the word "molester" in that paragraph. That's a loaded word...and though you didn't accuse the staffer...the insinuation was there. I hope that ya'll spoke with the camp director about it, rather than just leaving (so that the staffer's judgement, if suspect, could be addressed).

    Too young. No question. Poor ratio for younger kids (for JH & HS I go 5 to 1, each gender).
    Opens up many cans-o'-worms...about gossip, slander, poor camp administration, etc. Too many soap opera issues at that camp.

    I may regret this statement, but...several times, "molestation" was mentioned. I've dealt with it in helping victims, and in helping youth workers report it, etc...and unfortunately, we have to be on guard and be wise and protective. But it does seem that fear of molestation seems to permeate your whole view of camps.

    Keep in mind that molesters are scumbags...but they are a very minute number. Be vigilant? Absolutely. But most folks aren't after your kids. (I hope no one misunderstands my point there)
     
    #17 rbell, Jun 19, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2007
  18. Joe

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    Great reply rbell

    Yes, my wife did speak to the camp counselor, yet never mentioned the word "molester". She felt it would be unfair to mention it regarding this counselor since he probably was not a child molester (of course). This meant she was not able to discuss her background or fears (unfounded or not) of why she was so upset with what occured. No one deserves to have that word attached to their name for no reason, or for a lack of judgement.

    Her explanation to the Camp Director was that she was uncomfortable with this adult taking our young son in a group setting out into the woods far from church camp without anyone else knowing until the following morning. They left the next morning.

    I forgot to say, the kindergardeners were playing inside a very old refridgerator. She called a local appliance store from church camp and found out it locked from the inside. These kids were alone when she came in, no one showed up to get them for almost 10 minutes. One child held the door closed while another was inside, this was occuring as she approached.
    When she pointed out the problem to the camp director, nothing was done. She came back a minute or so later after retrieving duct tape and the fridge was still there with kids playing around it. The Camp director (also our Youth pastor) was leading a prayer outside with other children instead of taking action regarding the fridge. She had not called for help immeditately, and decided the prayer took priority.
    My wife took duct tape from our car and wrapped it around, stood there with her kids until she could find an adult (without a hundred kids running about them) to help move the fridge so it would face the wall.
    Just a bad church camp if you ask me, what a mess.

    I think she was too shook up to continue being a counselor. We changed churches after that. We now have a great youth pastor. They weren't bad people, but too relaxed with the kids for our comfort zone.
     
    #18 Joe, Jun 19, 2007
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  19. mcdirector

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    Since I was children's minister before we moved here and I knew how excruciatingly organized camps were when I did them, I trusted that they were when we moved here. AND having worked with the children's and youth ministers here now for years I know that they were and are.

    In my kids years here in Winston, they went to camp every year, they went to World-Changers every year, and they went on a mission trip every year. When they got into college, they continued to go on a mission trip with our home church each of their years in college.

    We had and the kids had to sign agreements. We had to go to parent meetings and go through handbooks. ALSO our church has a reputation for sending misbehavors home. We sent a kid home from England who violated the rules. So I trusted that my kids would be well taken care of.

    I'm sorry you didn't have this experience Joe.
     
  20. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    Oh my, even playing with an old refrigerator. Yes Joe I think you made the right decision pulling out of that camp.

    Child molesters have been mentioned several times now on this topic. I agree with you rbell that they are small in number, but we must also recognize that there are predators out there. They are naturally drawn to camps (and bus ministries, nurseries, and big Sunday Schools) because they see them as productive hunting grounds. Background checks and diligent supervision are just the beginning of the protective measures any camp or church needs to take. I like the two deep leadership rule we use in Scouting. It ensures that there is never a time when a single leader is left alone with a child.

    As far as what age to let kids go to camp. I think a lot needs to be figured in here besides age. The child, the camp, the leaders, the other kids, all need to be considered. I went to camp every year as a child and some camps were great and others were poor. We would go to the Wilds camp every year and that one is run very well. One year we were sent off to Camp Joy in Chattanooga and found it to be quite the opposite. I am not saying that to pick on them or anyone else (that was nearly 30 years ago, wow, ok now I feel old) just that you need to consider all these things.

    My daughter called last night from camp. She had a headache and the nurse had to talk to us and get the ok before giving her a Tylenol. She must be having a good time because she did not linger to talk to us but ran off as soon as my wife ok’d the medication.
     

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