7 Summer Camps That Would Actually Be Worth The Cost

by Jennifer Ball
Originally Published: 
summer camps
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As I sit here, trying to figure out how I’m going to pay for my 15-year-old’s hockey camp this summer (seriously, $500 and I still have to feed him lunch?!), I can’t help but wonder why there aren’t really useful camps for our broods. I mean, yeah, my boy loves hockey, and since he’s my kid, I am obligated to say he’s good at it, but let’s be real. He ain’t no Wayne Gretzky. It seems kind of silly to spend my sparse funds on something that, at best, might become a fun pastime for him as an adult.

Let’s discuss things like important life skills—things these children will benefit from knowing long after the carpooling, lollygagging days of childhood are over. Let’s arm them with knowledge that will assist them in making friends, luring lovers, and getting invited to multiple holiday parties.

Because if we’re being honest here, and I assume we are, I think we can all agree that the reason Bob and Karen have such a happy marriage isn’t because Karen learned how to ride a cranky senior horse named Caramel in the summer of 1989. They have managed to stay married because Bob knows how to fold towels and Karen knows what in the holy hell an HDMI cable is.

Instead of hockey camp, here are a few ideas I have for summer camps I’d actually enjoy spending money on:

1. Camp Close the Effing Door

There’s a trite old saying that goes something like, “When one door closes, a window opens.” I wouldn’t know about that, because nobody closes doors in my house. And I’m not just talking about the front and back doors. Nope. You name a door, and my kids will leave it gaping open like Chris Christie’s mouth during a Trump press conference. Fridge door? Yeah. Guess what, darling, if you pull open that drawer labeled “Crisper,” you have to shut it, otherwise the fridge stays open all night long. Kind of like Taco Bell, but instead of a tortilla filled with mystery meat, you get $20 worth of warm milk and E. coli.

Cupboard doors, bedroom doors, attic doors (I know it’s kind of Discovery Channel that we literally have bats in our belfry, but leaving that door open is an invite to a nightmare I am not equipped to handle), garage doors, entertainment center doors, and medicine cabinet drawers, you name it, they’re open. At Camp Close the Effing Door, the sanctity of leaving things as you found them (i.e., closed) will be lesson numero uno.

2. Ikea Camp

At this camp, the kids would actually spend their days and nights inside their local Ikea store, learning things like how to assemble a desk using only an Allen wrench, their own tears, and expletives. They’ll also learn the secret meaning of all those funny product names and how to prepare a plate of kick-ass meatballs. Your children’s future roommates/partners will love you for choosing this camp.

3. Camp Cocktail

Relax, people. No actual alcohol will be in proximity to your underage snowflakes. They will, however, receive a super-size serving of basic drinking knowledge that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Here is where they will learn stuff like how to salt a rim without clumping, how to open a bottle of tonic without the whole thing exploding like Mount Vesuvius, and the right way to cut a freaking lime. Won’t it be nice when Junior knows you like it shaken, not stirred? Ahhh. Family movie night just became a little more relaxing, mama.

4. How Not to Be a Total Dick on Social Media Camp

Yeah, I know, Facebook is just for us old farts now, but let’s be proactive in making the social media world a fun place for future citizens. At this camp, there will be several offshoot groups, with topics like “Absolutely Nobody Wants to See Your Feet,” “You Shouldn’t Hit ‘Like’ on Sad Posts,” and “Reading Before Sharing Is Caring.” Counselors will train kids to take viral videos in landscape vs. portrait mode and teach them how to organize snarky memes so they are instantly accessible during comments section fights.

5. Camp Target

Here, kids will learn from experts the art of Targeting. Young Hazel will be a Cartwheel ninja after six weeks at Camp Target. Our babies will know exactly how to navigate the clearance end caps, when the free popcorn is at its freshest, and the right way to angle your cart so as not to block everyone’s path while you weigh the pros and cons of buying that chevron throw pillow.

There will also be a financial aspect to this camp: Once your child masters the skill of “stacking” deals (sale price + Cartwheel deal + pharmacy rewards + 5% RedCard discount), you will never yearn for “alone time” at Target again.

6. Towel Camp

This is the camp where kids finally discover how to live with towels. They’ll learn the right way to fold them (the tri-fold way or the highway, dearies). Experts in the field of terry cloth textiles will teach the kids that it really won’t kill them to use the same towel twice, and that we know towels dry out faster when hung up vs. languishing on the floor, because science.

There will also be specialized classes where the kids will find out exactly what towels should be used for (drying off their bodies, wiping up the floor after a bath/shower, and covering up post-cleansing) and what they shouldn’t be used for (wiping butts/noses, rolled up under doors to hide the smell of weed, left under a teenage boy’s bed until it’s actually a petrified masturbation fossil). Functional washers/dryers will be on-site in order to show the kids how much fun it is to launder said towels.

7. Future Mommy Blogger Boot Camp

Because let’s face it, my fellow bloggers, at some point we’re all going to write that “So long, suckahs!” final blog post, and there has to be someone to document all of this incredibly important stuff when we’re gone. At this camp, I envision several breakout groups, kind of like they have at the real live big-time blogger conferences. Only at Future Mommy Blogger Boot Camp, instead of topics like “Monetizing Your Blog” and “Where To Find Awesome Free Stock Photos,” the upcoming members of the Yoga Pants Mafia will learn stuff like this:

– 100 Euphemisms For “Vagina”

– How To Write A Listicle 😉 – Meme fever! How to make ALL THE THINGS into a viral meme – The Open Letter: This Is How We Do It – For Boys Only: The Nuts and Bolts of Being a Daddy Blogger – Formula/Breast/Natural/C-section/SAHM/Working Mom: Labels And How to Alienate People

Please note that these summer camps are purely fantasy, and there is no way you can sign up for them—not now, not last-minute. There are no early bird specials and definitely no scholarships. You can add to the dreaminess if you like, while you’re perusing your calendar and your bank account balance and trying, desperately, to find a place for your offspring to get all camped up this summer.

And if you do happen to see a camp like any of these, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY AND SWEET AND PURE let me know. In the meantime, I’ll be figuring out which month we don’t need to eat so Mario Lemieux Junior can hit the ice.

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