Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Seriously, Is This Summer Camp?

Summertime Week post 4 of 5

Camps with full-time parent liaisons?
Summer camp as a secret vacation from Ritalin?
Have meddlesome mothers and fathers forgotten that one main point of overnight camp is to give children a chance to solve problems without parental assistance?

And what is "fading parental morality"?

Tina Kelley described the changes in summer camps in her article in the NY Times. Most high-end sleep-away camps in the Northeast now employ full-time parent liaisons. The job is “almost like a hotel concierge listening to a client’s needs.”

Kelley states, “The liaisons are emblematic of what sleep-away camp experts say is an increasing emphasis on catering to increasingly high-maintenance parents, including those who make unsolicited bunk placement requests, flagrantly flout a camp’s ban on cell phones and junk food, and consider summer an ideal time to give their offspring a secret vacation from Ritalin.”

And are camp WebCams helping matters?
“I have parents calling and saying they saw their child in the background of a picture (on our website) of other children and he didn’t look happy, or his face looked red, has he been putting on enough suntan lotion, or I haven’t seen my child and I have seen a lot of other children, is my child so depressed he doesn’t want to be in a picture,” said Jay Jacobs, who has run Timber Lake Camp in Shandaken, N.Y., since 1980.

According to Norman Friedman, “They’ll give their child two cell phones, so if they get caught with the first one, just give it up and you’ll have the second one to talk to me,” he said. “That’s widespread, not isolated. I call it fading parental morality. What they’re doing is entering into delinquent behaviors with their children. And what kind of statement is that to a child?”

Summertime Week Posts:
1. Children gain more weight in summer than during school
2. Summer books: Bad Parenting stories are so funny (not)
3. (From the We-Kid-You-Not-File) Summer Strolls: the direction your stroller faces could affect your baby's language development
4. Seriously, do you call this summer camp?
5. Too much sunscreen and too much paranoid parenting