Sunday, June 28, 2015

Happy Camper, part 1

Every summer, since the summer between his first and second grade school years, Wonder Boy has attended a local day camp for the majority of his summer vacation. It's been a great experience for the whole family - a fun, active schedule for the Boy and the peace of mind for Mom and Dad that the he was in a stimulating, yet safe environment.

However, as the Boy moved on up to Middle School, he aged out of the summer day camp opportunity. *sigh*

I'll be honest, as we faced this summer, I knew we would have to look at more than just day camps as there are just not many local day camp options for teenagers. So, no matter what plans we made for the summer, I knew we would have to let Wonder Boy venture out on his own a bit.

I will confess that this caused some serious misgivings on my part. Prior to this summer, Wonder Boy had never even been to an overnight sleep over. And, I may have mentioned that, in days past, Wonder Boy hasn't been one to thrive in novel environments.

But I guess that this too is a rite of passage. And one that we were going to have to face sooner rather than later.

During the school year, Wonder Boy was honored to be selected as part of the Duke Talent Identification Program (or TIP). This program singles out academically gifted 7th grade students and invites them to take college entrance exams to further determine their areas of academic success. Depending on the scores received, students are encouraged to attend summer programs. Wonder Boy qualified for one of these programs and when we asked him if he was interested in this kind of camp, he surprised us and JUMPED at the opportunity.

The first week of June rolled around and we packed up the boy and his bags and made the road trip to San Antonio. We checked him into a dorm room and, as hard as it was, said our good-byes so he could enjoy THREE SOLID WEEKS of "Engineering Problem Solving" camp.

Looking back, I can see this was an amazing opportunity for the Boy. He had a GREAT time. He made new friends. He learned new things. And he got his first taste of life away from home - kind of an "early introduction to college life." And Mikey, he LIKED it!

I need not have worried. He was ready for this step. In fact, it's safe to say he was much more ready for it than I was.

But I suspect that is the way of the world in general.

I'm really proud of my Wonder Boy. And so very glad that he got the opportunity to attend this incredible camp! I just need to work on his communication skills so that I'm not so starved for information while he's away from home.

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