Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Summer Camps Wrap-Up

Carl suggested I find a way to blog about all the camps we tried out this summer, and not just the more interesting ones.I've already discussed Cub Scout Camp, Art Camp, Soccer Camp, the RRISD Camps, LEGO Camp, and Star Wars Camp.

The most interesting one I haven't blogged about was Magic Camp. We went to a half-day, one week magic camp put on by Round Rock's Parks and Rec, so it wasn't as in-depth as the other big magic camp around Austin. But I think the boys still learned enough fun tricks to make them happy, and hopefully I won't hear pleas to go to magic camp every year in the future. The week of camp ended with a Magic Show put on by the kids.

This was about as much fun to watch as you think it was. And with 25 kids, the show went on for what seemed like forever, but was really only 78 minutes. Of the 35, Ryan was child 22 and Alex was child 24.

I did not particularly appreciate this magic trick that starts out with a rope around your neck.

I don't think anyone should be pretending to pull tight on ropes around (or not around, as it really is) kids necks, and my evaluation form to the City of Round Rock was rather vitriolic about this fact. I've calmed down a bit since I wrote it, but I still think this was an idiotic trick to show kids.

They came home with a big box of magic tricks, so there is hours upon hours of enjoyment waiting for me to 'pick a card, any card, doesn't matter which card you pick, Mommy, as long as you pick a card, any card, doesn't matter which card you pick, Mommy, as long as you pick a card, any card, doesn't matter which card you pick, Mommy, as long as you pick a card, any card..."

Adding to our joy of the Magic Camp Show was the fact that out of a dozen different tricks they could have done, Alex and Ryan picked the exact same two tricks to do.

So we had two chances to watch the boys pick a card, any card, doesn't matter which card you pick as long as you pick a card, any card...

The boys spent a week at Vacation Bible School at our church. They loved it, did some fun projects, learned all kinds of songs, and learned at least a bit about God. Sometimes the messages of how their art was tied in to their lessons was lost on my kids. But it was fun, and they had a great time.

We were also treated to an evening concert during the week. Shockingly, both Alex and Ryan not only sang but DANCED up on the stage. Color me speechless.

Alex spent a week back at Camp Doublecreek (aka BB Gun Camp). Ryan didn't want to go this year without a friend, so he went to our YMCA again. Alex loved Doublecreek, and he is all excited about returning next year because he'll get a Four Year Pin. You gotta give Doublecreek props - they know how to ensure the campers want to return. Alex wants to go so long he can be a CIT - Counselor in Training - I just wondered if I had to pay for that, or if he gets paid, or if its pro bono - somehow I suspect I still pay $300 a week for him to work.

This year, Alex came home with a "GaGa for GaGa Ball" ribbon. Not as cool as the BB gun champ ribbon from last year, but the boys love gaga - they play it every. single. day. at recess at school, and its a Big Deal for Alex. So good for him.

And then there were the YMCAs. Ryan had three weeks (Alex two) at the YMCA run out of our school. They would go swimming at the Northwest Austin YMCA twice a week, and on a field trip somewhere else one other day. They had several friends here most of the time, which made this a fun place to be. But I didn't really feel like they were doing anything too exciting - it felt more like, well, like it was just their afterschool program (which it is). I'm glad we didn't do this more than we did. My malaise about the Y camp probably shows in that I have no pictures whatsoever to show for it.

Finally, the last week of summer vacation, we tried out the Camp Twin Lakes YMCA. Its run by the Williamson County Y, as opposed to Austin's Y, and its a lot further away for us, and in the completely wrong direction for traffic purposes. But I've been intrigued enough to try it out, and basically it was one of only two camps I could find with open spots for us that week. Most camps either didn't realize we had an extra week of summer vacation, or didn't care.  I finally gave up on moving beyond spots 34 and 35 on the Austin's Y wait list, and decided now was the time to try the Williamson County Y.

The facility is stunningly gorgeous. Everything you could want in a camp. But it was kind of odd how they just have you drive through their "express lane" to pick up and drop off the kids. The folks we would drop off and pick up from never seemed to know anything about my child, or how his day went. I received absolutely no feedback from any person in authority, and that was very troublesome for me. I'm also a bit irked that Ryan only went to the canteen store once during his week, after I had been assured he would go 2-3 times, and deposited $10 in his account so that he could buy some snacks and a lot of useless cr*p. They don't refund your money, either, so on Friday, I voiced my concerns to the powers that be, and he came home with items certain to be used a lot, like a coozie ("so I can warm up my cold sodas," said Ryan. Like he drinks sodas from a can - ever - or that this is the correct coozie purpose. I digress.)

All this being said, Alex enjoyed this Y. His friend Brittan was there, and that helped a lot. Ryan had no friends, and he came home exhausted every day. He did not enjoy the Y. Since I equate this place as being a lot like Doublecreek, I think I can say that Ryan is probably not an outside-all-day kind of camper. Or else there was something else going on, but who knows, since I never did once get to speak to one of their counselors. I also never got out of the car at the Y, so the only pictures from the week are these, of my children walking away form my car, snapped quickly while the car door opening guys gave me dirty looks for holding up their express line. I'm a fairly relaxed parent, but if I'm troubled by the lack of parental-counselor contact, I can't imagine how the helicopter parents out there could cope.

So there you have it.

Our summer camp wrap-up. Some camps they loved, some they didn't. Some camps they loved, and I didn't. And some camps we all loved.

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