Friday, July 9, 2010

Bucking the "trend" of soccer camp

Anyone with children, living within a semi-populated area (that qualifies nearly everyone) knows about soccer camp. It's the "in" thing, the must-do of summer, not only for the kids but for the moms as well. The see & be seen of summer camps. Well, I'm not part of the "in" crowd. It helps that both of my boys show little to no interest in soccer (although the younger one has skills), but I think that I would be hesitant to enroll them, even if they showed interest. Why? Well, that's a good question. I suppose it could have a lot to do with personal convictions, justified or not. I believe that today's children are over scheduled, over indulged, over stimulated, and just plain OVERED. Sports related injuries in very young children are off the charts compared to merely a decade ago, and for what? Are we churning out professional athletes in the suburbs at a higher rate? Is your child destined to be the next athletic superstar? Odds are.... no.
Having that off my chest clears the way for the true reason for this post,
soccer camp alternatives.
This summer I found a fantastic opportunity for my two guys to participate in, and it was right up their alley, Eco-Conservation Camp. I know, I know, sounds nerdy? Granola-y? Treehugger-ish? Heck yeah! Since when did caring for your home planet become taboo? Since when did environmentalism become a naughty word? I say bring it on, and encourage your children to love their Earth, care for their surroundings, develop compassion for all things, and get a taste of empathy.... an amazing character trait that all children should possess, but don't.
This camp was developed and hosted by the fabulous crew at Catamount Outdoor Family Center, they also offer mountain biking camp for kids of all ages, another great alternative
for kids that will never play in the World Cup. It was a fantastic week long, half day camp that had my boys getting plenty of physical activity. Hiking, climbing, exploring, talking about positive ways to be good stewards of the Earth, problem solving, game playing, sharing ideas with like minded individuals, learning wildlife & botanical identification, and just plain having some good old fashioned summer fun.
I'm sure that I will touch on this subject again in future posts, letting kids be kids, so I'll let it go for now. If your child adores soccer.... eats, sleeps, breathes soccer, then by all means sign 'em up for that camp! However, this post is to remind those parents whom are on the fence, whose child isn't really enthusiastic about the prospect but it's what "everyone else" is doing, that there are choices out there. You may have to dig a little deeper, be a bit more creative, but it is well worth it in the end. Your kids will thank you for the extra effort, and mine have been wishing that Eco Camp was a full time, all summer gig!
**All photos in this post (and the squirrel in the previous) were taken by my son, Joshua, I must give him his photo cred!!**

1 comment:

  1. Nature is a good activity for kids of any age. Under the right circumstances it can strengthen their minds and bodies, and prepare them for the world outside like nothing else can. My own love of nature comes from being able to experience it as a kid.