Around 28 days remain in the school year, so we are preparing by looking at the day camps available. Music? Fine Arts? Sports? Computer? Hunger Games? We looked at them all,the ones offered by the school district, by the county parks and recreation, by the local community college, private, everything. Some were a half day, some were a full day, some were a half day, but were an hour or more away from home...what does Mom, the chauffeur, do when camp is in session for four hours or less?
The half-day/hour away camps were crossed right off the list.
The unbelievably expensive horse camps crossed right out.
The drama camps were immediately vetoed by my daughter, though they would do her some good.
The cheer camps were not an option, we skipped the ballet from three years old and gymnastics every week by choosing to buy groceries during those early years. Besides, she wouldn't be caught wearing the giant hair bows in public, even when she was three, she yanked those things out.
The computer camp she wanted the most turned out to be when we will be camping out West, we crossed it off. The others just wouldn't do.
In the midst of our conversations a friend texted her that there was a Hunger Games camp offered by the community college and that they should sign up together. Her eyes lit up, and her words tumbled up on top of one another. She was waiting for her friend to text her an image of the camp description. Meanwhile, I handed her the paper brochure and asked that she read it carefully. On closer inspection the Hunger Games camp was not what it appeared to be. A little phrase at the end of it noted that it was an academic camp and that a great deal of time would be spent in the classroom researching the information needed to survive outdoors. My daughter flopped in the red chair and harumphed that it sounded more like school than a Hunger Games role play. She wanted to learn the information about the plants, starting fires, strategy and such, but wanted to learn it outdoors and then role play the game with her friends, do it like in the movies, go through training and then into the games.
I continued chopping vegetables for dinner.
I pointed out that I had been trying to teach her about the plants in the woods ever since she was little, but she really didn't want to hear it from me. I pointed out that I had been doing the same with some of the outdoor craft that one needs to master, building a fire and so on, she had pretty much ignored me. Her fires smoked and then went out.
I pointed out that I could teach a bunch of that to her and maybe a couple of her friends.
The scrunched brows, lifted, the eyes lit up, the wheels turned and I thought, "Oh no, what is cooking inside that head of hers?"
"We could run our own Hunger Games camp! My friends could come and we'd learn stuff from you and some of them know stuff too, that we could use and we could do it for a whole week and..."
I put the chef knife down and thought, "Oh no, what monster have I created?!" Then I realized that this was the first thing that she had been truly excited about in a long time, so I stuck the monster image away in the back of my brain and entertained the idea.
I said,"Let me think about it. Something like that would take a good deal of time and preparation and I would need to consider quite a few things. It would be a huge project and I don't know if I'm going to do it, but let me think" She pushed to plan it immediately, and I pushed back saying I needed time to consider it and that it might be a "No.".
For the rest of the day she was floating. The energy the idea had given her made her bob through her chores and even be pleasant and on-time the next morning.
When she returned from school she stated that she needed to use the computer "as a tool" (meaning she was not going to play a game and use it as a toy, which has a time limit) and that it was TOP SECRET, at least for now. She shut the office door and tapped away at the keyboard, while I chuckled as I prepped another dinner. Twenty minutes later she emerged and asked me to enter the office to view the TOP SECRET document she had created.
It was a PowerPoint that contained the fourteen names of kids she had recruited for the camp at school that day. It contained research for Nerf guns and pricing. It contained a list of the different expertise topics, including martial arts and knife throwing, of the fourteen kids she recruited and some logistical planning. If I could only get her to do that level of detail for her 4-H poultry project!
What proceeded next was the--I said I would think about it, not that I would do it, and fourteen kids are too many, etc. conversation.
I will probably do something, with tops six kids including mine. Find some edible plants, find some that need to be avoided, learn to start a fire, learn to tell direction by the stars, read a compass, sleep in a tent without freaking out, outdoor sorts of things mixed with ice cream eating, hot dog roasting, and sprinkler running. The next day, let them role play Hunger Games for a bit, the average session only lasts about an hour until they get bored, and wave goodbye in the morning.