My son’s first experience with a sleep-over camp several years ago wasn’t good. Away for a week in the north country of New Hampshire, not knowing anyone, camping in a tent, and living on peanut butter sandwiches, he was desperately homesick.
So I carried an unspoken trepidation as we drove up and dropped him off at a week-long running camp last Sunday. This was the first overnight camp for him since that disaster.
Thanks to cell phones and text messages, which we didn’t have last time, I was able to check in daily and gently probe. Although he didn’t sleep well the first night, I sensed no homesickness. The food was good, and he seemed to be enjoying the running regimen.
His commitment to running had been the source of other questions rolling around my mind. He was reluctant to run all summer. After several years of fall cross-country and spring track, I thought he was burned out. Were my wife and I pushing him to attend this camp simply because we wanted him to continue running?
This morning we drove north to pick him up. As we pulled up to the cabin, chatted with him and his camp mates, and collected his belongings, my impressions were confirmed. He had a good time. On the ride home, he spoke of wanting to go back each year through high school and of running lessons he learned for himself through his own experience.
Although he and I haven’t discussed it, no doubt he had some reservations and uncertainty as we drove to camp last week. But he faced them and had a very positive experience. His self-confidence was surely strengthened, a significant milestone on his path to adulthood.
Grant, I’m proud of you.