6 Fantasy Summer Camps Every Mom Needs


When I was a kid and summer rolled around, my parents’ “plans” for me could be summed up in one concise sentence: “Go outside and play.”

Because my kids would drive me batshit crazy and I’d get no work done at all if I tried that, instead I spend weeks crafting elaborate schedules and forking over thousands (yes thousands) of dollars so that my children can be enriched, entertained and out of my fucking hair for that endless stretch of heat and humidity.

The options are mind-boggling: There’s sculpting, swimming, surfing, sailing, science, art, gardening, gift making, gymnastics, Junior Guards, Jujitsu, soccer, swimming, tumbling, fencing, Irish fucking dancing. As much as I’d like my kids to be well-rounded and culturally-enriched, I have to wonder: Where are the programs that might benefit me? I love a macaroni necklace as much as the next mom, but honestly.

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Then I figured out the answer. I’m calling it Fantasy Camp and the brochure is below. I’m giving the idea FREE to the first person who is ready to turn my dream into a reality; all I ask is that you guarantee me two spots.

1. Yes, Mom: During this week-long intensive camp, your child will learn that these aren’t two random words; they’re the ONLY TWO WORDS IN THE UNIVERSE YOU WANT TO HEAR when you ask them to do something. Children will be fined for using phrases such as “in a minute” or “but I set the table last night” or “ugh, whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?” during camp hours. For obvious reasons, Yes, Mom is one of our most popular camps, so sign up early!

CAMP NOTES: Healthy snacks will be provided. Kids who bitch will be sent next door to Shut Up and Eat It.

2. Shut Up and Eat It: It’s a long and grueling week for sure, but by the end of it, your child will be returned to you with a new-found appreciation for all that goes into putting that godforsaken meal on the table. They will understand that you made the fucking grocery list. You spent thirty minutes circling the goddamned parking lot at the grocery store trying to get a spot. You traipsed all over that nightmare of a place hunting all of that crap down. Then you forked over your hard-earned money for it, brought it home, assembled it in a colorful, balanced fashion on a plate and placed it in front of them. Camp motto: “It’s hot, it’s here, somebody else made it and other people think it tastes good, so Shut Up and Eat It.”

CAMP NOTES: Our sister camp, Don’t You Roll Your Eyes at Me, is a suggested prerequisite.

3. Don’t You Roll Your Eyes at Me: This interactive, hands-on camp teaches your child the basics and importance of nonverbal communication. An extended day option will cover hands-on-hips, muttering-under-the-breath, door-slamming, exaggerated sighing and stomping up and down stairs.

CAMP NOTES: We reserve the right to reassign any campers not making progress by mid-week to Yes, Mom.

4. Bathroom Skills 101: This camp includes but is not limited to: changing the empty toilet paper roll (it’s not that hard! we promise!); rinsing toothpaste out of the sink before it petrifies there and has to be removed with a chisel; the purpose and proper use of a bath mat; how to floss teeth without turning the mirror into an ode to Jackson Pollock; and last but certainly not least, flushing the goddamned toilet.

CAMP NOTES: Due to the scope of material covered, this is a two-week camp. We offer a 10% discount for any campers simultaneously enrolled in Yes, Mom and Don’t You Roll Your Eyes at Me.

5. Don’t Step Over It; PICK IT THE FUCK UP!: On day one of this fun and enlightening camp, your child is introduced to a magical and possibly foreign concept: Their shit does NOT magically pick itself up all day, every day. This sporty camp will instruct kids on all of the many options available to them in the following real-world situations: The dirty laundry scattered about their bedroom like a stripper’s castoffs; the wet towel on the bathroom floor; the stack of papers that fluttered from the counter when they raced by; the remote that fell out of their lap when they went to get more popcorn, so that you’d have something fun to clean up tomorrow.

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CAMP NOTES: Kids hate the shit out of this camp. For that reason, it fills up quickly. We suggest registering immediately and then saving it for when you need a good, strong punishment, such as when your kid refuses to say Yes, Mom or just won’t Shut Up and Eat It.

6. Be Nice to Your Brother/Sister: Fine, this one is essentially a week of bribery and threats. Consider it free babysitting.

CAMP NOTES: Good luck with that.


***SPECIAL NOTE*** Due to overwhelming demand, husbands can now be enrolled in any of our camps, too!

About the writer

Jenna McCarthy is an internationally published writer, TED speaker and the author of five books including If It Was Easy They'd Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon: Living with and Loving the TV-Addicted, Sex-Obsessed, Not-so-handy Man You Married. Find her at JennaMcCarthy.com.


Anba 11 months ago

When will you be opening “Mom is still asleep because it’s 5:30am” camp?

Alexis 11 months ago

Love it!! How about “if it’s not yours don’t touch it- how to keep your sticky fingers off all things belonging to others”. We’ve spent weeks looking for hubby’s wedding ring and my cash the 4yo pilfered…….

Debbie 11 months ago

“Leave Me The Fuck Alone For 15 Minutes” camp

O&M 11 months ago

Watch out for your new baby sister: WTF!!
To teach how not to push, step on, fall over, or otherwise squish the new baby!
With an extended week of
Your baby sister gets toys to and let the baby sleep Dammit!!!

Angie 2 years ago

I Love these!!!! If you can add “put your pants back on! I don’t care if you’re more comfortable w/o them” I’d really appreciate it

Susan Maccarelli 2 years ago

Brilliant!! I’d like some sort of camp for PMS-ing bipolar toddlers who used to be nice. Maybe ‘Use Your Words You Little Turds”.

lesbomom 2 years ago

I laughed SO hard at this one!!!

Debra 2 years ago

Please add:
“when you finish (fill in the blank) food item, YOU CAN THROW THE CONTAINER AWAY! Don’t put it back in fridge, pantry, or cabinet!

And sign mine up for ALL camps. Please keep us on a yearly rotation until otherwise notified it has SUNK IN! Thank you :)

Lonnie 2 years ago

if you look for the RIGHT residential summer camp all those things are included.
It called RESPECT! It is what every camp looks to impart to their campers.
Some do it better than others…
As Camp Owners of Swift Nature Camp, Often parents are amazed how respectful and helpful their kids are when they return home….it’s just the culture we set for everyone.

Jaime 2 years ago

I love this times 1000!!

Marianne 2 years ago

How about Household Management – an intensive course for teenagers who haven’t yet found jobs and need something to do besides emptying your refrigerator and gas tank?

Lorraine 2 years ago

Additional children’s camps that are necessary:

1. Food is Not Art
2. Vegetables Will Not Kill You
3. How To Get Your Point Across At Fewer Than 100db
4. Mommy Can Pee Alone Without You
5. Things That Smell Bad: Don’t Eat Them Or Wear Them
6. Costumes Are For Halloween (Only!)
7. It’s His/Her Birthday, Not Yours: You Do Not Get A Present
8. Mommy Is Done At Bedtime
9. Bathing Without Flooding The Bathroom
10. How To Entertain Yourself After The Batteries Die

Camps For Husbands:

1. Trash Can Identification and Location
2. This Is A Washing Machine: You Can Use It!
3. Pooping With The Door Closed — (Additional Week Option: Room Deodorants and How To Use Them)
4. You, Too, Can Buy New Shoes, Pants, and Shirts
5. Just Because You Can Hang It On The Wall Does Not Mean It Is Art
6. There Is No Such Thing As “Your” Money Anymore
7. Things To Do During *That* Time Of The Month — Note: 4 Week Camp
8. Appropriate Moments For Horseplay and Foreplay That Do Not Involve Visiting In-Laws
9. Vegetables Will Not Kill You — This Camp may be attended with his child(ren)
10. Mops, Brooms, Sponges, Dusters, and Rags: What They Are And How To Achieve Proficiency

Chris Steenstrüp Arrigö 2 years ago

I have a teen who prides herself on not being one of those overly dramatic types……who bursts through the door each day screeching the day’s events to me at the top of her lungs and bursting into tears over easily solved problems. I propose one called Take It Down A Notch; Shouting Is For Emergencies Only!

    Debra 2 years ago

    I Love this!!! But I need it for my drama KING!! Not my girls……YET!

Katie | The Surly Housewife 2 years ago

All of these sounds like great camps. I would like to find a “Appreciate my parents music” and “stop asking. We will be there when we get there.”

Kay 2 years ago

“Because I said so.” And, “If I have to say it one more time” oh, and,… Common sense camp! Jesus. No! “Stop throwing shit all over the damn place”

Nora Johnson-Atkins 2 years ago


Amie Haugh-Pymm 2 years ago

Love this camp!

Kay R 2 years ago

We often threaten to send our kids to Campquityourbitchen.

Melissa Ruther 2 years ago

Omg that is beyond awesome!

Shannon Klein 2 years ago

As a former camp director (of what I obviously believe to be the most awesome and fun kids summer camp ever!) I can say with confidence that all of these things are possible. Like the camp director above said – no guarantees on it sticking, though! Kids always behave worse for their parents- maybe because they subconsciously know what unconditional love is? (Even though they don’t seem to have it at times!)

Anita Wrightner-Dotson 2 years ago

I need to sign my child AND my hubby up for Camp No. 5.

Tara McIvor 2 years ago

How about “I don’t care if you have a penis SIT DOWN TO PEE and stop shitting in the urinal at school”

lisa 2 years ago

Do you have anything for older kids, like, get the hell off the playstation?

Karla Castro 2 years ago

This is the greatest idea ever, I need two spots ASAP!!!!

Relly Peters 2 years ago


Bruna 2 years ago

Absolutely brilliant! I’m in. Where do I register my kids?

Tina Reber 2 years ago

Ha ha ha!!!!

Mary Groveman 2 years ago

Love this!

Beckie Huey 2 years ago

where can I sign mine up?

Rachelle Dixon 2 years ago

Mine will be going to camp #1 and #2.

Kathy Anderson 2 years ago

I am the director of John Knox Ranch, a summer Christian camp for kids. Our mission is “to foster experiences of Christian community in God’s creation.” We do all of the traditional summer camp stuff (e.g., arts & crafts, canoeing, s’mores, etc.), but campers also live as a cabin unit for the 1-2 weeks we are together. They do “kapers” – meaning they clean their bathrooms, mop the dining hall, make their own beds, etc. We don’t overkill it, but we do most of the stuff you mentioned in your post! Except for the F-word (though we might think it!). I always tell parents that they will go home with a kid who is different than the one they dropped off (though I make no guarantees on how long it will last!). I’ve often (somewhat jokingly) said that it’s my calling in life to make sure campers, and for sure my staff, know how to mop and clean a toilet properly! There is something very spiritual about that. I’ll even give one of your kids a scholarship to come to camp! :) Thanks for all you do.

Uriella Perkins-Graham 2 years ago


Kristen Paridon Frazzini 2 years ago

Love It!@

Alexia Johnstone 2 years ago

Love! I’d add, “pants are not an option: day camp for toddlers”

Jennifer Toscano Wilkin 2 years ago


Jenn 2 years ago

Here’s one for the hubbies: When I said hold the baby for a minute I mean HOLD the baby, not put her down after I walk away so she screams. Here the menfolk do nothing but hold babies (real ones, not dolls) all day so the know how we feel.

And one for us moms: Wine Connoissuering 101: a camp where you learn the fine art of drinking wine in a relaxed setting. (A 1 week camp, however your second week is discounted 50% if you can successfully remember your kid’s names after drinking that much wine)

chanelle Crispin 2 years ago

What about The, ” I know SOMEONE did it!” Camp?
This camp would be for the guilty Lil rascals that reply to every task or broken item with the reponses…
“I didn’t do it.”
“I didn’t make that mess.”

Justin N Winnie 2 years ago

Lol luv it! 😀

Corrine Lockhart 2 years ago

Where do they sign up!?!

Amber Knisley 2 years ago

These are great!!

Dawn Zurzolo 2 years ago

Love this! Sign my 2 up for #1 & #4!!!!!!!

Karen Petrick Podurgiel 2 years ago

Best article ever!!!!

Monica 2 years ago

How about adding: “Learn how to aim – You’re 8 years old!” to the bathroom skills!

Varinda Sue Ridl 2 years ago

This is great!

Samantha Kerkstra 2 years ago

Love the husbands part!

Lisa 2 years ago

Dd2 already in need of ‘Pick It The Fuck Up’ – falls over her own toys and reprimands me with ‘That shouldn’t BE there’!

Allison 2 years ago

I would comment, but I can’t stop laughing long enough to come up with anything substantive. This is pure brilliance.

Carla 2 years ago

Can we PLEASE add, “you’re freaking almost 10 years old already… SO HIT THE DANG TOILET BOWL WHEN YOU PEE!!!!!!!!” to bathroom 101?

    notasupermom 2 years ago

    Or how about “At least clean it up when you miss so I don’t SIT IN IT or STEP IN IT when I go to the bathroom!!!”

      Cindy W 2 years ago

      And how about WIPE and WASH your hand WITH soap please!!!!!

Jody 2 years ago

Oops, didn’t read the special note. All right then. Where do I sign?

Erica 2 years ago

Totally signing my 6yo and 7yo up for “Yes, Mom,” “Shut Up and Eat It,” and “Be Nice to Your Brother/Sister.”

However, I think it would be hypocritical of me to send them to “Don’t Step Over It; PICK IT THE FUCK UP!” because I regularly attend Camp “Nobody Wishes On Their Deathbed That They Had Spent More Time Cleaning” where the activities include playing, reading books, and drinking wine. :-)

Rebecca Greene 2 years ago

Thanks to having kids I peed myself a little while reading this! Awesome!

Jody 2 years ago

Could 5 and 6 be available for husbands as well? That would be nice. I’d also like a potty training camp where I can send my child for a week, and she comes back diaper free.

Suzanne Dreitlein 2 years ago

Boundaries: My Parent’s Crap is not Automatically Mine

    Mary Schneider 2 years ago

    I think that’s under the “Adult Camp” section of the brochure. 😉

Sylvia Storz 2 years ago

AWESOME! Also, I am down for the suggested “Go to bed and stay there” and “Markers go on Paper, not the walls, cat, carpet, or your brother”

    Alicia 2 years ago

    Both. My dd7 desperately needs both plus all of the above lol. I blame her father…I’ll be sending him too except he needs “How to fall asleep without the TV on without annoying me.”

Sarah 2 years ago

I love it!

Zeina 2 years ago

This is pure genius. Can you post a censored version so I can share with my kids!!!

    Sonja 2 years ago

    sI am agrandmother and I love it

Melinda Seibel Felton 2 years ago

Hahaha…sign my boys up!

Samantha Allen 2 years ago

Love it !

CJ 2 years ago

Sign mine up!

Becca Voss McDonough 2 years ago

The special note at the end cracked me up!

Julie Baker 2 years ago

Love #5

Jéneen MarieRenea BeckerDaniska 2 years ago

Hahaha I love it

jenna mccarthy 2 years ago


Love you guys and your comments…


Judi Hughes 2 years ago

I just read these to my 14 yr old son, who REFUSES to believe I did not write these!

carol cooney 2 years ago

FANTASTIC ……………i think a week in each for all of my children , even the grown ones would sort my summer perfectly…where do I sign ????

Danika 2 years ago

I need one titled The Cat and Other Things That Don’t Go In Your Mouth. -_-
And to enroll my husband in Bathroom Skills 101 and Don’t Step Over It…

Lisa 2 years ago

Hahahhhaaaaa! Brilliant. I also want to sign my kids up for ‘go to bed and stay there’.

    notasupermom 2 years ago

    Oh I’d be first in line for that one!


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