I think it’s safe to say we’ve caught the Camp Harrison fever! When I found out they hosted a winter “Holiday Camp” in early December – and ran it past my 6-year-old son Wade – he was all about it! I had him at the part of the description that said they’d be “making Christmas cookies and holiday decorations,” so we signed him up! Really I think he just remembered how he felt at Camp Harrison last July, in his first week-long overnight camp experience and couldn’t resist a chance to go back, even if just for a weekend in the winter. For a young boy, getting a taste of the independence and fun camp provides is hard to beat.
We were both curious what the beautiful Boomer, N.C. campus would seem like in December, when camp was less about lake swims and the circular slide at the pool and more about crafts, campfires and indoor fun. When I dropped him off and heard “Silent Night” playing over a loud speaker and saw each cabin decorated so festively with lights and greenery, I knew he was in for a special weekend. Two of his favorite counselors from last summer greeted us at the car in their Santa hats and with their usual contagious enthusiasm. There were just 10 kids in his cabin this time, as opposed to 16, so I knew it would be easy for him to get to know some new friends and faces. Wade was so ready to head off for some fun, he only remembered at the last second to turn around and give me one last quick hard squeeze!
We were both so excited we didn’t realize he had left his winter coat in the back seat of my car. (Total mom fail! Luckily he had multiple sweatshirts, a hat, gloves and a lined rain coat – which he informed me later he didn’t need because it didn’t rain – eye roll! Happy to say, he survived just fine and as another boy mom pointed out to me that weekend, there was a good chance Wade wasn’t going to be wearing that winter coat, even if he had it with him. BOYS!)
The short weekend turnaround meant we didn’t have to miss each other too much! And it gave me a chance to try out a new packing scheme other moms had suggested last summer. After Wade wore the same T-shirt on two (or um, three) days last summer – which I discovered looking at the photos on the camp website – I packed entire outfits in Ziploc bags and labeled them for each day he was there. Sure enough, Wade was wearing his “Sunday” clothes when I picked him back up!
Trying to get camp details out of a young kid is always a challenge, especially when a little tired on the car ride home from a weekend of nonstop fun. Whenever we asked Wade for favorite part about holiday camp, he would only say: “Too many to choose.” I know he liked watching Christmas movies and making the wooden tree ornament and Christmas candle holder he brought home.
But after going over some camp photos from the weekend with him, I was able to glean a little more about the fun they had. They decorated and ate Christmas cookies in their pajamas, roasted grilled cheese sandwiches over a campfire, and played paintball. One night they got to watch an artist paint right in front of them, explaining each step as he went. And they got to create paintings of their own. They played basketball and some of their other usual games at camp – Wade told me he beat his counselor twice at the outdoor game that looks like tabletop shuffleboard with pool balls. And amid all the fun, knowing the Christian influence at Camp Harrison, they learned more about both the Christmas story and the real meaning of Christmas.
It was all such great practice and a fun reminder of what’s to come in July when he goes back for another week at Camp Harrison. If you want to find out more about what it’s like to send a 6-year-old to overnight camp, follow the link. And for parents looking for a great experience for their children this summer, Camp Harrison is offering an early bird discount on registration between now and Dec. 31. Space is limited and popular sessions are filling F-A-S-T, so reserve your camper’s spot today!
YMCA Camp Harrison
Where campers build character, develop confidence and grow in their faith.