Summer Camp Growing Up

Empowering Tweens To Stand Up For Themselves

Dex is at summer camp in the park again this year. It’s had its ups and downs this time around, partly because he is at the upper age limit for the camp. He still loves hanging with his friends, swimming, crafts – all that summer camp stuff. But he is getting really frustrated with the methods of some of the counselors, who are treating them like kids half their age.

Recently he got in trouble for something and was sent to time out. Fine, except they never really explained what he did wrong. Partly because it’s a big camp full of kids running around like maniacs in the sun, but partly because they just don’t seem to understand that the older kids will want to have more explanation.

The next day, Dex came home in a huff. “They called Dad!”

Yup, what Dex had been doing wrong was actually pretty serious when looked at in a certain light, but since he didn’t know it was wrong – he kept doing it. The camp called Bryan and they had a long talk. Bryan assured the counselor we would help Dex understand the rules, but also asked them about some other times we knew other kids were breaking those same rules, just in different ways.

Next up, family meeting.

Dex was pretty upset to be singled out for behavior we all agreed was not wrong. However, we reiterated to him that now that we all understood the rules, he should follow them. It’s just the way the world works sometimes.

What we didn’t like was not telling him why and how he was breaking the rules. So Dex wrote out a list how he (and we) would like to handle it in the future.

In his words:

1.  I will follow the rule, now that I know it.

2. I will talk to a counselor if someone else is breaking the rule against me.

3. If I am breaking any other rules, please explain them to me.

4. If I don’t understand the rules, I will call my parents and we can all go over them together.

5. Let’s have a fun rest of summer!

The next morning, he went up to the counselor with his list, but the guy didn’t have time to discuss it.

So Dex placed the paper in his hands and told him to chat later if he had any questions.

Somehow, I don’t think he will.

This article has 6 comments

  1. Andrea

    Good for you and good for Dex!

  2. Andrea

    Good for you!

  3. Jennifer K

    Wow. I would go right in there and tell those people off!

  4. Sarah Patterson

    Poor Dex. Glad you guys are helping him through this.

  5. Lucretia

    I can’t tell you how awesome that list is. Do you mind if I print it out? Sadly, there are times that things like this come up for every tween, whether camp, school, or any other place there’s someone “in authority” who doesn’t actually communicate with them.

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