Last summer, my now fourth grade twin daughters went to Silverbrook Day Camp
for the first time. I am not a helicopter mom, yet for some reason I kept holding them back saying, “Next summer you can go.” I kept waiting for them to be old enough.
Together they chose a five-day session that included one night of staying at camp. I remember getting their stuff labeled and packed up the night before their first day of camp and rereading the materials to make sure we showed up at the bus stop at the proper time. As we drove up to the school, my heart was pounding. I was so nervous for them. I was filled with typical mom worry: What if they didn’t have fun? What if they didn’t make any friends? What if they were separated? What if they didn’t like being outside all day
? All kinds of what ifs were going through my head. Sadly, the only question that didn’t pop into my head was, what if they have the best time of their lives?
The change in their confidence was noticeable.
The bus rolled up and they burst out of the mini-van door. I had to call them back to make sure that it was the right bus and to take that official first day of camp photo. They obliged with big smiles, gave me a hug and they were off. I sat in my van and cried. I spent the day in my office trying to figure out what was happening in their day. That afternoon, I went to the parking lot to await their arrival. The clock seemed to tick slower than usual. When they finally arrived the smiles they flashed were priceless. Once they got in the car they continued to talk for 115 minutes straight. Seriously. Non-stop for 115 minutes. I heard about everything you could EVER want to know about camp. Their camp names, their PAs
, all the activities they completed including swimming and archery, the flag ceremonies, the lanyards they started, every single game they played and song they sang and something about every girl they met that day. By day five, we were all sad that it was coming to an end.
At our service area campout in September, they asked the organizers if they could teach some songs and games that they learned at day camp to other girls – girls not in their troop! This would have never happened before attending day camp.
During their short five years of being Girl Scouts, I have seen Maggie and Abby grow. Their confidence, kindness, compassion and enthusiasm for trying new things is a direct result of being a part of Girl Scouts and day camp was a HUGE part in that growth.
The what if questions that now run through my head are things like, What if I had sent them when they were younger, how much more confident would they be now
? What if they decide to go on a week-long overnight adventure at Camp Alice Chester, am I ready for that?
You bet I am, and I know they will be too!
In the meantime, they can’t wait for another week at Silverbrook this summer and I am looking forward to hearing what new adventures come their way.
Has your daughter been to Girl Scout camp? How has the experience impacted her? Share in the comments below.
— Theresa Krajnak, Girl Scout Leader and parent
Read more from Theresa:
Girl Scout leaders: Learn how to work smarter, not harder