Skip to main content
Family

My Kid Went to Overnight Camp for the First Time

A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter (who is now 10) went away to overnight camp…for the first time!

It seems like just yesterday Ruby and I packed up for a summer adventure together – that was SIX years ago! And now, just a few weeks ago, Ruby (who is currently 10) went away to overnight camp…for the first time!

I never went to overnight camp as a kid and never even considered it as an option. So when she asked us if she could try it out, my initial instinct was to say NO! My husband calmed me down, and we discussed it when I could think about it calmly and clearly. We decided to let her go but only for one week since it would be her first time away from home for more than just a night at a sleepover.

When we dropped her off at camp, I bawled (the kind with large tears and makes you completely out of breath) as soon as we walked to the car to leave. She’s my first born child, and I was leaving her in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of people I didn’t know?! “What kind of monster am I?” I thought.

During that week, we would get updates via an app that the camp had set up where photos of her from her various activities would pop up into to our feed. It was nice see her happy and thriving. There were no phone calls allowed, but they did allow the kids to write letters which they scan and send to your app. She wrote us one letter mid-week which I loved.

When it came to picking her up at the end of the week, I was so nervous and excited. Would she not want to come home? Would she wish she could stay longer? Would she be happy to see me? As soon as I saw her, she hugged me so hard and for so long. I cried once again…tears of joy having my baby back and seeing she had made it through the week and had even grown a little in the time since I last saw her. She kept saying how much she missed us and how happy she was to be back together while simultaneously sharing all the amazing things she did at camp that week.

If you’re curious about her experience, I asked her a few questions here from her perspective…

Why did you want to go to overnight camp?
I thought it would be fun!

Did you feel nervous about being away from us for that long?
Yes, but then I got really excited and was happy to be there once we arrived.

Did you miss us?
I missed my family but I think I missed my devices more.

What did you learn being away?
It made me feel more responsible. You have to get your own food, you do everything yourself, there’s no one watching over your shoulder like your parents do.

Do you want to go back again?
Yes! Maybe for two weeks next time?

At the end of the day, I have no regrets about letting her go. She learned a lot. I learned a lot. And it was a great experience for our whole family. I don’t foresee ourselves ever having her be away for more than a couple weeks, but I love the idea of her getting to go for a short part of the summer and then enjoying the rest of it with us!

10 comments

  1. What was your process for choosing a camp? I would love to consider in the future but am kind of paranoid! Do you mind sharing where Ruby went? We are in SoCal.

  2. Have read your blog for years. I really enjoy post like this! Love when you share (new) experiences from your family life. What was your process for choosing a camp? Do you mind sharing which camp? I like the idea of the camp having an app. How far away was the family?

    1. Hi Kasandra!
      We got a recommendation from another Mom at school whose kid went last summer and loved it. The place is less than 2 hours from our house, so we felt like it was close enough should there be an emergency and we needed to go get her. I honestly didn’t look into too many as it can be overwhelming so we stuck with this one!
      Joy

  3. Did you send her with a friend? And same with the above question, how did you decide, did you go with a particular interest (sports, religious)? We are also in Los Angeles, so I would be interested to know what your experience was.

    1. Hi Jill!
      We got a recommendation from another Mom at school whose kid went last summer and loved it. The place is less than 2 hours from our house, so we felt like it was close enough should there be an emergency and we needed to go get her. I honestly didn’t look into too many as it can be overwhelming so we stuck with this one! Since Ruby is super creative and does art stuff at home all the time, she liked the idea of something more outdoorsy and totally different. Hope that helps!
      Joy

  4. I have the same question as Catherine. How did you pick the camp (I’m also Los Angeles based)? I get so nervous at the thought of letting my child be in the care of strangers for a week straight🙀 Even though I went to sleep away camp, i feel like times are so very different. Thank you and Ruby for sharing this experience!

    1. Hi Annie,
      See my answers below in the other comments about picking camp. But also, the one we chose has a parent contact phone number you can call with any and all questions which was SO helpful. I was even more impressed once we got all the paperwork to fill out because it showed me how thorough they are!
      Joy

Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Follow Along