I sold Smartypants (9) and Splinter (7) (who has now requested "Pikachu" as his nom de blog) on the idea of Sports Camp. But which one? The indoor version or the outdoor one?
The indoor camp had some appeal- no concerns about sunstroke, ozone emergency days and rainstorms. Plus, though Smartypants is pretty good at soccer, he'd rather bury his nose in book (or if allowed, play video games) all day. Not to reinforce stereotypes about geeky kids, but at the private school for gifted kids that my boys attend, the big sport last year was Four-Square. (To be fair, the soccer field was torn up due to construction.) Even so, it's clear that they've got more mathletes than athletes. Which is a long-winded way of saying that perhaps the indoor sports camp would be good for Smartypants because he'd have a chance to be a stand-out athlete, what with all the sickly asthmatic kids who'd likely attend such a camp.
But, ultimately, I couldn't get past the general lameness of indoor sports camp. I signed the boys on for the outdoor version. While the boys are returning to their private school this fall, we're not quite feeling as much love as we once did and want to keep our minds open about returning to public school. (This is fodder for at least a half dozen posts in its own right; we'll save it for another day.) I had this idea that the outdoor camp would be a litmus test of sorts. Smartypants is so much more confident and emotionally balanced now than he was after his miserable first grade year in public school. And he's friendly and nice. If he can make his way at Sports Camp, I thought it would bode well for a return to public school.
Well, it's not boding well for a return to public school. He just finished his first of four weeks, and guess what? He hates it. Hates. It. And he's miserable.
Several of the boys in his group know each other from school or the first session of camp and when it comes to games like football, they pass to their friends. He's keenly aware than when they do pass to him, it's only because the counselor told them to. The camp counselor confirmed this.
The counselor also confirmed the story about the boy Smartypants got out in dodgeball who refused to leave the game and then, before he finally agreed to step out, whipped the ball back at Smartypants' tummy. (They are age-grouped, and at 55 pounds, Smartypants is generally the shortest and lightest among his peers.)
Additionally, the counselor is a green, new one. He told me that though his first session went well, he lacks control over this new group.
Smartypants thought he'd made a friend after the first day of camp, but this little dude turn out to be one of those manipulative jerks who's constantly pulling the old, "if you do X, I'll be your best friend." I'm proud of my son for steering clear of this boy, but that pretty much leaves him back to being the odd boy out.
It just breaks my heart that he's so upset at the end of each day. I'd pull him from this Lord of the Flies camp, but I've got to be at my office at least 2.5 days each week. (Working mom guilt alert!!) Is there anything to do but frame this as a character-building experience and save our money for more years at private school and those costly geek-tech camps? Ugh
Friday, July 13, 2007