SOMWaD: (Not Quite A) Camp Rant

If you've read my previous posts, you know that I've got a busy summer.  And that I have a son who is attending multiple camps/programs during summer break.  Some he's done before (  and and some are new.  Each one is a little different and each has their own "quirks."  I understand that.  But I'm a little irked/annoyed/cheesed off with the people who are running the camp he has been attending this week.  Before I sound off, a few points:

  • This day camp/program has been around for years.  (So long that I COULD have gone to it when I was a kid, but I didn't.)  It is part of larger community organization and as I understand it, is run/organized by volunteers.  
  • The staff/counselors, however, are paid.  They obviously have some training or educational background as my son seems to really like the counselors, especially whoever runs the arts/crafts portion.  He comes home with a proud creation daily.
  • There are several "levels" or layers of the program.  Whole day vs. half day (half day only for the really young ones) and members vs. non-members (of the organization that runs the camp).  Obviously the cost for a half day member camper would be the least expensive and the cost for a full day non-member would be the most.
  • It's a weekly camp, with each week having a different theme.  Obviously you could do the whole summer, but the way it's set up you can select whatever week(s)/theme(s) you want.

Now for our regularly scheduled (not quite a) camp rant!

Back in the spring my father (who, by the way, originally found the fantastic marine science camp that my son has been attending for 5 years) thought it might be nice for my son to try (in addition to marine science camp, since he'll never give that up) this other camp for a week.  The camp is much closer to my parents' home at the shore so that my son could walk there and home by himself.  Together we figured out which week would work (see previous blog post on the summer schedule:  Then my father tried to register my son on line when registration was open.  He said it was a nightmare.  I took it with a grain of salt.  But then one weekend when you could go and physically register, I saw what a mess it was.  My father HAD succeeded (and he had the print outs to prove it), but he wanted to make sure.  When we got there, the woman who was "in charge" was on her cell phone (or should that be "self" phone).  She didn't seem anxious to get off and help out my Dad.  (Or the woman who came in behind him.)  She just took the papers and my dad's check and that was that.  (The woman who was in line behind us was told to use the laptop on the table to register; the "in charge" person then returned to her ringing cell phone.)  Didn't instill the greatest sense of comfort for me, but I tried to be open minded.

My confidence was not restored when my mother called me with an update the first morning.  The place was a madhouse she determined.  "Thousands of kids" (ok, I think she exaggerated) everywhere and it was blazing hot.  But she got him checked in for the day and wanted to pay for lunch for the week.  (She was under the mistaken assumption that $9 was for three lunches; the other two days it was BYO).  Turns out lunch is not $9, but $10 (no biggie). It's $10 per day, but if you bring your own lunch it's $7.

It took me a while to wrap my head around that one, even after I read it on the organization's website.  IF you bring your own lunch, you have to pay $7 a day to eat it at the camp.  Otherwise you have to go home and then come back.  And, as my son found out today, you CAN"T come back until 1 PM.  (He went home, eat and went back only to be sent home and told that he couldn't come back until one.  That's really what set me on this rant.)

It seems to me to be pretty petty to charge $7 a day just so a kid can eat his own lunch and socialize with his (new) friends.  The explanation I got was that the counselors needed to be paid to watch the kids while they had lunch.  And I  completely understand that counselors need to get paid.  But shouldn't that be built into the overall cost?  If you charged $25 more a week (or $5 a day) and then charged $5 for lunch each day (if the camper chose to purchase it), the program could actually make MORE money.  (Not to mention that they wouldn't come off as petty and inept.)

Maybe it's just me.  (And it's okay to tell me via a comment; I can take it.)  While I realize that this program is run by people who volunteer their time, I'd think it would be better run and organized.  (Even if the volunteers changed from year to year, I'd still think you'd  have a core plan down).  I'd think you'd want to make it easier for people to register.  I'd think you'd want to make everyone feel welcome at lunch (it's part of that whole socialization process).  AND, I think you could even make more money by making some changes that will make your organization seems less petty and more welcoming.

So that's my (not quite) rant on this week's camp experience.  Camp staff = great.  Camp policies and organization = no so great.  My rant = ???  (I'll leave it up to you to tell me!)


Popular posts from this blog

Not Guilty

Please Don't Ask Me...

Lowe's LIES