You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Summer camp offers chance to build lifetime memories | THE MOM STOP

Tuscaloosa News logo Tuscaloosa News 6/25/2022 Lydia Seabol Avant
a close up of a woman wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Lydia Seabol Avant. [Staff file photo/The Tuscaloosa News] © Michelle Lepianka Carter, Tuscaloosa News Lydia Seabol Avant. [Staff file photo/The Tuscaloosa News]

Summer camp is almost a rite of passage, at least for many American kids.

The summer camp experience includes swimming, hiking, singing camp songs and getting eaten by a million mosquitoes. Camp can also include making wood-burned nametags in the craft hut, the thrill of getting mail from home and going to the “canteen” to spend the cash you brought on snacks.

When I think back to my camp experience, I remember hiking through the woods among giant boulders and up to the top of what seemed to be a very high mountain, although in hindsight it wasn’t all that big.

When I hear songs like “Going on a bear hunt” or “I’m a little hunk of tin,” I’m instantly brought back to Camp Sumatanga, where I spent a week every summer in elementary school and then returned as a camp counselor in high school.

I remember the fear of camping under nothing but a tarp and staying up all night, worried that I’d get bitten by a snake. And I recall the relief knowing that I had passed the required swim test for the week.

I’ve never been much of an outdoors person, but camp is something I knew I always wanted my kids to experience.

MORE OF THE MOM STOP: New pooch stays lovable despite chewed furniture, poop problems

And so, when my 10-year-old and 13-year-old had the opportunity to go to Scout camp last week, I think I was more excited than they were. I pulled large plastic tubs out of our garage closet and wrote their names on each. I bought gallon-sized Ziploc bags and had the kids pack a complete outfit, except for shoes, and put each outfit in a bag, for ease of finding clean laundry at camp.

My type-A self would have gone so far as using a Sharpie pen to write the days of the week  on each bag, but I knew that was going a little far and that my kids wouldn’t likely be paying attention to the dates, anyway.

We went to Wal-Mart and stocked up on two of everything — bug spray, sunscreen, battery-operated fans and first-aid kits. We packed up sleeping bags and sheets, toiletries and swimsuits.

As I dropped my kids off with their packed totes and day packs, I gave each of them a hug, told them to have fun. And I whispered “You can do this.” Partly to them, for also partly for me.

It is the first time both of my oldest kids have been away from us for a full five days. And while I know they weren’t looking forward to the sweltering, triple-digit heat and no air conditioning, I know they are making memories they’ll always remember. I know they’ll look back on the experience later, and, hopefully, appreciate some of the things they got to experience, mosquito bites and all.

As I type this, my house is eerily quiet, as our 7-year-old is temporarily an only child for the week. But I’m counting down the days until we pick up our kids from camp — and I am thankful we have only gotten one homesick phone call so far yet.

Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News. Reach her at

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Summer camp offers chance to build lifetime memories | THE MOM STOP


More from Tuscaloosa News

Tuscaloosa News
Tuscaloosa News
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon