Scenic view of trees at camp

My Child’s First Time At Overnight Youth Camp

by Valerie Morby

Youth campers in the pool

Editor’s Note: The following post was written by Michelle Tanzola, a mom who sent her daughter to the overnight youth camp at Pine Cove for the first time this summer! Last year her daughter experienced Camp in the City for the first time. Read about that experience here.

If the Olympics gave medals for summer camps, Pine Cove would definitely win the gold! My 9-year-old just returned from her first week at overnight camp (Silverado) and now, having been through that whirlwind as a first-timer, I now consider myself to be no better prepared a seasoned professional camp mom, and feel it is my duty to share with you all of my newfound knowledge.

As I watch Michael Phelps win his 463rd medal or Simone Biles defy gravity in a way that makes us all go, “WHAAAAAAAA?!?!?!?”, it occurs to me that Pine Cove and the Olympics have several things in common.

“How so?” you may ask.

“Well, let me enlighten you,” I might say.

Muddy Camper

Counselors: No one gets to the Olympics by being lazy. The athletes who compete are poster children for determination, passion, commitment, and love for their sport. The counselors at Pine Cove are Olympic athletes in their own right. If you could harness their energy and enthusiasm, you could power a small country. Their passion for Christ and commitment to pour into our kids during that week, demonstrating His perfect love for us, is breathtaking.

The App: It’s true what they say—there is an app for EVERYTHING, including the Rio Olympics. You can learn about the medal results in a particular sport long before you see the event itself. Technology is amazing. It keeps us in touch with what is happening a hemisphere away, almost in real-time, so we don’t have to wait for the replay. The Pine Cove app is the same thing, only better. As a mom with a first-time overnight camper away for a week, the app helped me stay connected. Pictures, stories of her activities, highlight videos, and follow-up questions I could ask when she came home were a lifesaver. And they tag my kid, too, and notify me when a new picture of her has been posted so I can check it out immediately. I bet Michael Phelps’ mom can’t even claim that!

Pageantry: To say the Olympics are a show-stopper when it comes to pageantry would be an understatement. Although Pine Cove’s pageantry is somewhat less grand (and less expensive!), its display is no less incredible. From driving the gauntlet upon arrival to the closing celebration and everything in between, Pine Cove demonstrates its commitment to Christ and our kids in everything they do. And even better than a medal ceremony at the Olympics, during the Pine Cove’s closing celebration counselors present their campers with the “character qualities” they’ve seen in the campers during the week. How cool is that?

Before the closing celebration was even over, my daughter was already talking about coming back to Silverado. So we signed her up on the spot for a week next year. You have children—you know how amazing it is for them to be excited about ANYTHING sometimes. And to ask to repeat the experience? That is a feat that I believe even the Olympics can’t accomplish.

Posted Aug 16, 2016

Valerie Morby

Social Media and Copy Manager

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