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"too much davening, the food was bad, etc"- is there better?
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 9:43 pm
DD went to sleepaway for one month last year. I know several families that send there and after looking into it a lot, we found that it was a perfect match for our lifestyle and hashkafos, and indeed that was our experience. The friends DD had there seemed very wholesome, the overall spirit was positive, there was a lot to like. We are mildly yeshivish minded and very low maintenance - I davka wanted a place where she wouldn't be calling home needing brand name fads and the like, which I have seen happen at other camps. I want a place where the other kids aren't on smartphones (even at home, not at camp. I don't want her coming home telling me that the only way to keep in touch with camp friends is on whatsapp, which I have seen other kids do.) I was satisfied with all my dealings with the camp.

DD is on the fence about going back and I'm not really keen on spending $2500 or more to send her somewhere she isn't going to be happy. She said she enjoyed most of it and loved the girls, but the parts she hated she hated:

She didn't like the food a lot of the time (she is somewhat particular but not what I would call actually a picky eater) - she would go hungry until the next time she could get back to her bunk and fill up on snacks.

The davening, primarily on Shabbos, was painfully long and boring. She described having to sit for hours in shul both at night and day. I don't know if she was exaggerating but when I was 12 I very rarely went to shul from beginning to end on Shabbos, it is a very long boring time, and I never went at night. And then she said the Friday night meal was always super late because even after the girls got out of shul, they had to wait for the men/families/something before they could have kiddush and eat, and she was miserable and starving (and then didn't even like the food...)

She also said they forced her to attend activities when she wasn't feeling well. It seemed to me that she wasn't feeling well pretty often, she complained a lot of headaches and sometimes sore throat. I suspect because of not sleeping enough - she said she often had a hard time sleeping because other kids were still making noise when she was tired and done - and eating snacks instead of meals. Davening came up again in this discussion, because she resented being dragged to davening when she didn't feel well, but also other activities.

A lot of this seems to me like... that's camp. Learn how to enjoy the good times and not kvetch so much about the food and the davening. About the headaches, every camp basically requires attendance at activities unless you're really sick. I feel bad for her but I assume every place is similar.

But I'm wondering if there is another camp where she might have a more positive experience. She's really torn about whether or not to ask to go back because she did like the parts she liked, she just really really really didn't like the parts she didn't like - which is significant to me, because when she had these complaints during camp I thought she was just being kvetchy, homesick, whatever, but if she still has the same complaints months later when discussing going back, that seems serious.

Wondering if anyone has thoughts because I really don't know what to do with her. I would love for her to have a positive camp experience, 12-13 is a bit of a difficult age at home, we don't have great day camps for that age where I live, she MIGHT be able to find a mother's helper job but I don't love that little structure for a kid this age and I'm not sure she's ready for a job. And then it would be up to me to make sure she has appropriate things to do when she's not at work. If she can even find a job, because I think there is more supply than demand for 12 year olds looking for work.

Thanks for listening if you're still there. I appreciate any advice.
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amother




Sienna
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 10:13 pm
All I can tell you is that I end up regretting the year I didn't send my dd to camp. It was a miserable summer that bled into a miserable school year.
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amother




Bergamot
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 10:22 pm
What does she want to do?

Are there any camps that are more "laid back"

I went to summer camp and actually didn't enjoy all of the forced camp activities but just liked some of the social aspects. Luckily my camp wasn't so structured in terms of activities.
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 10:28 pm
amother Bergamot wrote:
What does she want to do?

Are there any camps that are more "laid back"

I went to summer camp and actually didn't enjoy all of the forced camp activities but just liked some of the social aspects. Luckily my camp wasn't so structured in terms of activities.

I guess that's what I'm asking, are there any camps that are more laid back, maybe less heavy handed about davening, while still having our frumkeit values in other areas.

What does she want to do - she doesn't know. She wants the camp with her friends that she likes to have good food and less davening and so forth. She's torn and I totally understand and relate and don't know what to do about it.
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amother




Bergamot
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 10:33 pm
amother OP wrote:
I guess that's what I'm asking, are there any camps that are more laid back, maybe less heavy handed about davening, while still having our frumkeit values in other areas.

What does she want to do - she doesn't know. She wants the camp with her friends that she likes to have good food and less davening and so forth. She's torn and I totally understand and relate and don't know what to do about it.


Maybe for three weeks in the summer it doesn't have to align so completely so long as the camp is frum.

I never went to camp with any girls that I knew but bonding with the other bunk mates is almost immediate so if she is willing to not go to the same camp as all of her friends, that is a possibility

I don't have any suggestions but I am sure there must be some camps that are less regimented.

Also are there activities that she is very interested in like art, singing, dance, gymnastics.or acting because she might enjoy a camp where she got to be very intensely involved with those activities.
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amother




Salmon
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 10:35 pm
I dont think there is any yeshivish oriented camp that will let kids miss davening.
Besides from a hashkafic view they can't have girls staying in their bunks unsupervised. That is why all girls need to go to all activities unless they're really not feeling well in which case they would go to camp nurse so she can supervise during the activities while the counselors are busy.
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amother




Vermilion
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 10:42 pm
All of these things are just the way camp is. It sounds like she just might not be cut out for it. How old is she? Maybe she needs to wait until she's a bit older.
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amother




Crocus
 

Post Fri, Nov 25 2022, 12:54 am
Maybe look into camp ahuva
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amother




Navyblue
 

Post Fri, Nov 25 2022, 4:01 am
Doesn't sound like she was taken care of? If she often had headaches why didn't the counselor send her to the nurse for Tylenol?
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amother




Moccasin
 

Post Fri, Nov 25 2022, 8:24 am
I work at a camp. It sounds like her self care was bad (understandable at her age) and she wasn’t eating, drinking, or sleeping enough (dehydration very often causes headaches). You can perhaps work with her to make sure she’ll take care of herself better this summer (and work on the food situation from your end and camps’) but honestly… I wouldn’t send her.

Camp is an amazing, incredible experience which I really truly believe in. But it’s not a “must happen” and you already gave her the opportunity once and it sounds like it just wasn’t a great match for her.

I don’t think any camps will have a setup different than what you described aside from MAYBE Kaylie (which pushes you less on going to specific activities).

My vote is for keeping her home this summer.

Hatzlacha with your decision!
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Chayalle




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Nov 25 2022, 8:33 am
I do wish that camps had more of a food budget (perhaps cuts could be made into the ridiculous over-the-top activities and back to more wholesome old-fashioned fun, and the meals could be better). I have a close relative who used to be a camp cook - a very good one - and he only took jobs in camps that would afford his salary and his budget for better food (usually he got jobs in boys camps for that reason, I think they know no one would come if the food wasn't decent). It's a shame because our girls also need to eat properly.

I also wish they'd sleep more. Some of it is of course that the girls stay up when they are supposed to go to sleep, but it seems to me that some camps have a culture of being up late, waking the girls up for late activities, etc...and some girls really don't do so well with it and it's unhealthy for them.

No answers really. Just commiserating. I find that my girls go to camp, love it, but after a few years, they've had enough and don't go back.
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amother




Brickred
 

Post Fri, Nov 25 2022, 8:40 am
I wonder if our DD’s went to the same camp?
My dd is complaining of the same things.
Waking up early, not being allowed to go to the bunk during the day, shabbos morning davening early in the morning for hours,..
In general she had a good time. She came home happy but was very happy to be home and now she’s saying she doesn’t want to go back again.
I’m not sure what the solution is. Not fun to stay home but not fun to feel forced to go…
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amother




OP
 

Post Fri, Nov 25 2022, 8:51 am
I know that every camp will enforce going to davening and I support that. But I also think that enforcing being in shul all morning (on Shabbos) is a bit much.

She did go to the nurse, was given Tylenol and sent back to action. I don't 100% blame them because there are kids who are at the nurse with vague complaints all the time and it's really homesickness or attention seeking. And even I suspected that might be the case, but after it continued for a while I figure it's for real.

I'm upset at the camp for not enforcing bedtime better because I really think it could have been sleep deprivation and it's not right that after paying $2500 for this experience my kid was sick and miserable half the time because of that. Morning wakeup was pretty early (again I'm cool with enforcing davening but it sounds like that was at, I don't remember, 8:30? After being up late every single night)

So disappointing.

I'm not so yeshivish and I'd be ok with a less "frum" camp except I'm absolutely not ok with a peer group in which smartphones are the norm and that is rampant these days. Looks like yeshivish is the only way to keep avoiding it.
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amother




Tomato
 

Post Fri, Nov 25 2022, 8:54 am
Camp ahuva is very laid back and they don’t force the girls to do anything. Look into it it sounds like a match
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amother




Mustard
 

Post Fri, Nov 25 2022, 9:00 am
I was this kid.
My mother was a big time camp girl. So of course I had to go. I didn’t enjoy the whole camp experience. I was (still am 😝) a picky eater and a light sleeper. I didn’t like being told what to do. I prefer to do things at my own pace.

After that first summer, I didn’t want to go back. My mother wouldn’t hear of it! She made sure I got put in a good bunk. But I still didn’t like it.

Thankfully she relented. I spent the next few summers working in local day camps with a school friend. Loved it!

I went back to camp as staff, and really enjoyed! I was able to figure out my own food situation, had a small room with three others, and a job that was fun and with friends!

My advice: give it another year. But if she really doesn’t enjoy it, she may just not be cut out for camp.
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amother




Clear
 

Post Fri, Nov 25 2022, 9:02 am
Do they go to a local shul for davening?

Also, why is it so long? Does the rabbi speak for a long time? Is there lots of singing? Typical Shabbos morning davening at my shul is about 2 hours, maybe 2 hours and 15 minutes.
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amother




OP
 

Post Fri, Nov 25 2022, 9:13 am
amother Mustard wrote:
I was this kid.
My mother was a big time camp girl. So of course I had to go. I didn’t enjoy the whole camp experience. I was (still am 😝) a picky eater and a light sleeper. I didn’t like being told what to do. I prefer to do things at my own pace.

After that first summer, I didn’t want to go back. My mother wouldn’t hear of it! She made sure I got put in a good bunk. But I still didn’t like it.

Thankfully she relented. I spent the next few summers working in local day camps with a school friend. Loved it!

I went back to camp as staff, and really enjoyed! I was able to figure out my own food situation, had a small room with three others, and a job that was fun and with friends!

My advice: give it another year. But if she really doesn’t enjoy it, she may just not be cut out for camp.

I wasn't so into camp and REALLY wasn't into the idea of sending her last year when she was the youngest bunk and I wasn't ready. But a lot of her friends were going and she begged and she'd had a hard year so I gave her the benefit of the doubt when she insisted she was ready.

This year I'm very much in favor of her going because there is almost nothing for a kid her age to do here. Last year she would have had a day camp. This year everyone goes to camp. She's still too young to get hired for anything except maybe mother's helper if you can find someone looking.
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amother




Hosta
 

Post Fri, Nov 25 2022, 9:20 am
I was a big camp girl! I went for over 10 years and I was staff almost until I got married at 21.
These “requirements” are what camp is all about. If activities were optional, campers would lounge around and not do anything all day. Davening is what it is…
Girls with a positive attitude in camp might kvetch a bit about activities but it will not ruin their summer. They will remember the friendships and the fun, not the time they “had” to go swimming or to arts and crafts. Girls with a positive attitude will good natured-Ly complaint about the food but they won’t let it define their summer.
Your daughter doesn’t sound like she’s cut out for camp, which is absolutely fine. Not everyone is. But I do remember that the girls who were always crying, kvetching, complaining, and running to the nurse for every perceived ache and pain really brought down the rest of the bunk and bunkmates soon lost interest in hanging around the negativity all day.
If she spent the time cultivating healthy friendships and laughing at the annoying parts of camp, she may have had a better time
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amother




Chocolate
 

Post Fri, Nov 25 2022, 9:30 am
Look into Agudah Toronto. Amazing camp with solid hashkafos and a laid back atmosphere, not a lot of pressure.
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amother




Antiquewhite
 

Post Fri, Nov 25 2022, 9:37 am
I went to Sternberg a couple of decades and we definitely didn't Daven Shabbos morning for hours maybe an hour in total?
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