Saturday, March 24, 2007

Summer's a comin'

A couple of weeks ago, I saw an ad about a summer camp that our local SPCA has each year. For one week, 3rd-6th graders can see vets in action, talk to animal experts, and play with dogs and cats (well, duh). Of course this is right up Graceful's alley, so I went to the SPCA's website for more details. It said that registration would begin today at 9 a.m. and be on a first come / first served basis. Hmmm? Is that really necessary? I mean, come on, how competitive could it be to get into this camp?

I should also mention that the website clearly stated that kids can only attend this camp once ever in their lives.

So I left the house today, planning to get to the SPCA at around 8:30, just in case there might possibly be a line to register camper wannabees. I tossed my mp3 player into my purse, just in case.

I had no clue. No idea. I'm such a novice at this whole camp thing.

As I was coming down the road toward the SPCA, I noticed a lot of minivans, SUVs, and other mom-mobiles. All of them headed to the same place as me. I couldn't even pull into the parking lot, there were so many cars ahead of me. In fact, the parking lot of the business across the street had suddenly become the SPCA's overflow parking. And it was filling up too.

An SPCA staffer was directing traffic, so I rolled down the window to find out what was going on. Surely there was some other special event going on at the same time, because I just couldn't believe this traffic was for camp registration.

I was so wrong.

At 8:30 in the morning, there were already well over 50 people lined up for 48 camp spots (4 weeks X 12 kids/week). And there were easily another two dozen streaming toward the line.

So Graceful isn't going to SPCA Animal Camp this year. As it happens, she will be spending a week at Girl Scout camp, another week at the amazing girls' camp my sister runs in Maryland, and then a week at a camp exploring the science of food (why sodas are fizzy, how bread dough rises, etc.). So it's not like the girl is going to be sitting around bored this summer. In fact, I was wondering if four camps spread across July and August would be a bit much, but decided to just go for it since there's a week between each camp for her to rest and goof off.

Graceful was fine with not being able to go to SPCA camp this year. Not a whit disappointed. I was proud of her for being mature about it and also a tiny bit concerned that I had failed her in some way. Pete quickly disabused me of that notion. After all, unless we're talking about a specialized sports camp or perhaps an enrichment program for gifted students, camp is supposed to be fun and open to all kids. I told myself to just chill out and not be one of those parents who starts freaking out about college admissions a decade in advance.

Next year, I'm getting to the SPCA two hours early, with some Starbucks and a good book.

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