If you have kids, chances are somewhere along the line over the next 13 years of Schooling your kids will head off to various locations on a School Camp.
In New Zealand our camps usually get to be in the great outdoors, in the thick of nature, they’re a place to get dirty, try new things and come home with a weeks worth of enviable stories to offload on your siblings and neighborhood friends.
I’ve just counted and Miss 13 has been on 6 School Camps so far.
If you’re a parent, chances are you will be asked somewhere along the line if you want to be “Parent Help” on the above said camps.
Some of you will be reeling away in horror now at the very mention of the thought, some of you be excited at the prospect of it.
I jumped at the chance to be Parent Help on Miss 13 camps from the very first one**. Over the years I have been on 5 of her camps, to places far and wide around New Zealand including 1 in the South Island.
I’m not naturally maternal and don’t ‘love’ kids…but when it comes to Camp…it totally rocks and the kids totally rock!
So I thought I would compile a list of:
10 reasons why you will love being a Camp Parent:
1. You get to do some super cool activities alongside the kids that you might not normally easily get to do, like…
- Surfing (and being taught by professional surfers)
- Sea Rafting
- Sea Kayaking
- Sea Kayaking/Sailing with sails to turn your kayaks into yachts
- Zip lining down ravens
- Tyre tubing down pristine rivers
- Scuba Diving (in a pool)
- Height challenges where you have to climb super high ladders and traverse across tree tops and leap off things
- All sorts of super fun ‘trust’ challenges on low ropes that really test your skills
- Camping on beaches
- Camping out in the open
- Building your own shelters
- Blindfolded swing bridge walks (with no hands too if you are feeling extra-brave)
- Standing attop the most scenic Mountain ridges in New Zealand after tramping for hours and breathing in that ‘view’ and the achievement
- Swim in beautiful locations
- even the likes of full-on Paint Ball wars
- So many things to challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone
2. Tramping in areas of New Zealand that are breathtakingly jaw droppingly mind blowingly beautiful…
…it will make you want to go back with your own family and friends to share this slice of paradise with them.
The tramping can be hard work, but what you get to see along the way is worth every aching muscle. Learn to pack light!
3. You will change your opinion on some kids you thought you had sussed…
…The kid you ‘thought’ was a bit of ‘no hoper’ or a bit of a ‘roughin’…you will see them in a different light as maybe they had finally conquered height obstacle that they really struggled with.
…or that you see them taking charge in a positive and successful way in a leadership challenge and encouraging others.
…or you see them never leaving the side of someone who is struggling themselves with a challenge and cheering them on right the way to the end (even though you know they never normally talk to each other).
When tramping or during an activity you will find yourself talking to kids and you will hear all sorts of things about their life and how to some this is second nature to them and other kids that have never been out of Wellington before.
NB: There will still be kids that annoy you…it can’t be helped…just gotta roll with it.
4. Sitting round a camp fire, with a bunch of incredibly funny entertaining kids…
…It’s a blast, they seem to get funnier as the night wears on…even though the protective Mother in me comes out as they all seem to have little spacial awareness and disregard for how close they sit/walk past the open fire!
Hot Milo…Smores…thermals and wool hats…funny stories = priceless.
5. Sitting round a camp fire after the kids have gone to bed and all the work is done with the other adults on camp…
…It is very relaxing and I’ve had some great conversations over the years with the myriad of awesome parents and teachers who have been on camps.
Reminiscing about the day and things you saw in different kids that day.
They all agree, Yes there is HARD work to do, but it never seems much of a chore, as your doing it with others, having great conversations and having a laugh in amongst the cheese slices and toast making.
6. Gets you out of the Office…Lab…Store…Car…and into nature for a week…
…It always makes you take some moments to take a breath…think about things from a different perspective…and not be tied to the cellphone, computer or even a watch.
7. You get to know other parents/teachers that you may not have naturally spent time with…
…Sometimes I’ve known these parents quite well, other times not at all…but you get to know them really well here, helping you to know even more parents within your School community.
…that then introduces you to more parents they know.
….same goes for the Teachers and Principal.
…I found I was able to even easier talk to those Teachers and Principal afterwards and they knew who I was which helps more than you realise along the line for anything you need for your child in future.
8. You will play child hood games that you long forgot…
…Go home stay home
…Eyespy – while you tramp
…and you will be taught new ones that are super cool to have in your arsenal
…99 Bottles of beer on the wall (technically a song, but you get my drift)…yup sometimes they have got right through all 99 renditions and have then started again from the top.
9. Camp concerts…
…Yes, You will be in them, having to make up skits (or remember some old faithfuls from your own camp days), you will be used at props by one of the kids…and you will have never had so many laughs before at the crazy antics they come up with.
You may also get wet or slimmed
10. You get to see you own kid in a different light…
…(both good and bad) You will see your kid interacting in different ways you have never seen before.
You will see first hand how they interact with the Teachers and how they treat the other parents.
You will see them talking and hanging out with kids, you didn’t even know they really liked.
It’s a great way to understand them even more and opens up a raft of conversations afterwards about so many different topics as I found we could often reference them back to something/someone on camp.
Yes that shower you have late on that Friday night will feel like the best one you have ever had, you will stay in there until the water runs out…and then you will crack open a beer and fall asleep after 3 sips!
Yes you will have 12 loads of washing from both of your tramping packs and umpteen awkward things to dry and air out and your house will look like a Camping store exploded in your living room…
But those myriad of cuts, bruises and broken finger nails will remind you for weeks to come of the fantastic time you have had and why you love being a School camp parent…and you will without a doubt be back for me and sign up again for next year!
Have you been a Camp Parent before?
Why did you love being on it?
Or if you haven’t, do you want to go?
** Important, before applying to go on a School Camp, really talk to your child about this first, they have to be more than OK with you going. Give them time to think about it.
Fortunately Miss 13 was always more than happy for me to be parent help.
But anytime she would have said No, I would have bowed out.