Things I Learned at Camp

Zip Lining, Canoeing, Rock Wall Climbing,
Fishing, Horseback Riding, Slingshots…
What more could a kid ask for?


For the past 3 years, my boys and I have traveled to Montague, Michigan for Family Camp at YMCA’s Camp Pendalouan.  It’s a fun-filled 4 days and 3 nights of every outdoor activity you could imagine.  This year’s camp experience taught me a few things…

  • It’s all a matter of perspective!  On the 2nd day, thunder rolled through camp and a down pouring of rain left me panicked!  How would I find enough indoor activities to keep 4 boys busy?  Enter Professor Puddles (aka Sam from Wales with an awesome accent).  Wearing a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) and a graduation cap, Professor Puddles invited interested campers to go on a puddle jumping expedition.  Why not?!  We jumped in small puddles, deep puddles, muddy puddles were judged on everything from the height of our splashes to the form of our jumps.  This experience reminded me it’s all a matter of perspective.  What might have otherwise been a dreary day turned into one of the highlights of my camp experience!


  • Kids know what they like and are perfectly capable of personalizing their day.  I will be completely honest and admit to having some control issues when it comes to keeping my boys busy and plugged into what I feel are appropriate educational activities.  After 12 hours of trying to keep all things in control on the car ride to camp  (books on CD, playing the alphabet game, looking for license plates, NO electronics), I decided to let my guard down and just let the boys decide what they wanted to do when we got to our destination.  The result was that each boy went in a different direction and found exactly what they wanted to do.  There was excitement and all sorts of stories to be told when we reconvened as a family at meal times.  The boys’  independence at camp got me thinking about this…
What would happen if the school day was structured like camp?  Could students be trusted to choose their own path and personalize at least part of their day?   I think so.

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Camp Pendalouan 2015 was amazing!  Each year, I am grateful that my boys are making  memories that will last a lifetime.  What did you do this summer?  Did any of your summer experiences teach you something new?  Leave a comment below!


2 thoughts on “Things I Learned at Camp

  1. It truly is all a matter of perspective. Thanks for the great reminder. Good goal to blog 2x per month. I’ll encourage you to do so. This summer, while co-facilitating the Nebraska Writing Project’s Summer Institute, I was reminded that the best teachers of writing are writers themselves. Also, passion for subject and flexibility in curriculum are huge factors if we really want students to be engaged.

  2. We were also fortunate to spent some time at camp with a youth group. A 24-hour rain gave us wet feet, but also provided some much-welcomed cooler weather and white noise for sleeping – we learned that whippoorwills can be loud.

    We learned that we can survive a whole week without electronics. That said, the technology that we have available to us today supports a self-directed learning model more so than ever. Not only does it better facilitate students learning their passion, it also allows to teachers to spend more time with the students that need it and less with those who do not. It is amazing what kids will accomplish if we simply give them options.

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