Doesn’t Everyone Love Camp?

Evidently a large portion of the television viewers agreed. My e-mail box was flooded with messages such as “You are a *#%@*^ mother!” “How can you be so &%$@(&% stupid to have your teenager wrestle with her dad?” (Get the idea?) We got prank calls at midnight. The Trading Spouses chat boards were overwhelmed with people calling me the crazy activity lady that forced kids to hike and be creative.

One e-mail read, “Why did you send that 12-year-old boy to a drama class? He’s smart. Only idiots do drama.” My husband got ridiculed for being a %#*%# dad and not encouraging Sondra to date.

The Untapped Camper Market

It never occurred to me that doing camp activities with my family could be so controversial. It also showed me the large, untapped market of potential campers. If parents think playing family games are stupid, they probably aren’t the type to send their kids to camp. Those of us in the camping industry simply assume everyone sees camp as a positive experience.

Here are some ways you may want to consider gently exposing people to camp:

•Set up an informational booth at a sports tournament on your camp programs. Sometimes people who are totally sports focused might consider a general summer camp for their child.

•Many newspapers and magazines print articles on cooking together as a family. Write an article on a “No-Calorie Family Activity”. Describe the benefits of spending time as a family making a piñata or playing games. Tie in the idea that kids learn valuable skills by attending camp where creativity and fitness activities happen daily.

•Does your church or synagogue offer divorce or grief support groups? Ask if you can bring a short slide show about camp activities, especially if you have family camps.

•A creative soccer coach (and camp director) invited teams to decorate goal posts at a tournament for elementary students. Dads who normally wouldn’t do “crafts” got creative in their goalpost designs, and gained an appreciation for camp-type fun.

•Expose business-people to camp-type activities. As a speaker on team building, I’ve frequently had adults work on projects such as fish printing or creating an exercise machine from PVC pipes. At a teambuilding session for firefighters, I had each team create a diorama of a “fire station of the future.” It’s satisfying to have people tell me they enjoyed the “artsy craftsy” type activity as a change from dragging heavy fire hoses. Then I mentioned how kids gain positive experiences from similar activities at camp… and distributed flyers from a local camp!

I still get occasional negative e-mails about my involvement with family games and activities. I don’t let it bother me – this is my reality, not theirs. Of course, I also don’t let them know my next book is called Moms Who Use Glue Guns Bond With Their Children!

Silvana Clark has over 20 years experience helping thousands of children create arts and crafts projects. She presents keynotes and workshops on a variety of recreation related subjects. Silvana can be reached at (615) 662-7432 or via e-mail at

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Related posts:

  1. Craft Connection
  2. Sports Programming Twist
  3. Operation Purple Camp
  4. The Healing Power of Camp
  5. All in the Family

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