Summer Camp ain’t a good place for Anxiety

It’s been busy here in my Unseen world.  My kids have been attending summer camp through the local YMCA. They offer lots of different sports camps, science camps, art camps, etc.  Lots of fun, right?  Hmm.

The last two weeks the kids did science camp and had a good time (both said so).  That’s great, esp. for my son who has tons of anxiety and is very introverted – at least until he warms up to you. 🙂  This week my kids had signed up for Archery Camp (my son) and a Junior Chefs/Cooking Camp (my daughter).  The cooking camp is at the downtown Y location, near my office, while the archery camp is at another Y facility that the kids have both been attending the past couple of weeks.  So, there is some juggling around to do this week, but it isn’t too bad.

Robbie’s been looking forward to archery since we signed up for all the camp choices back in MARCH.  He’s been so excited, so I was hoping that yesterday, his first day, was fun and rewarding for him.

Well.  He’d had a decent day yesterday EXCEPT for the actual archery part.  Why?

He was mad/upset that he’d “lost an arrow” during his turn.  I asked what he meant – thinking it may have flown into the woods or something – ut what he meant was he’d lost one of his three arrows as a punishment.  He confessed that he’d shoved a kid who had been repeatedly poking him in the back.  He said he’d asked the kid to leave him alone, first, and when that didn’t happen, Robbie told me he’d then tried to just ignore the kid but that hadn’t worked, either.  So then he shoved him.  *Sigh!*

They were both penalized one arrow from their turn to shoot at the targets (each turn is 3 arrows, it seems).  Robbie then told me he’d been so bothered about it that he’d just sat out the rest of archery time!  ALL of it!

I was very annoyed that the counselors hadn’t stopped the kid.

So then today at drop-off, the archery instructor, an older man, was there and he asked Robbie if he was in a better mood today.  Robbie hung his head.  I was immediately annoyed, because there are ways to ask a kid about his mood and that’s NOT one of them, and more so when the man proceeded to tell me that Robbie had “slugged a kid” yesterday. I replied that it was because the kid had been bothering Robbie when it was his turn, and he’d only pushed him after he’d tried telling him to stop and ignoring him.  The instructor said, “Nope, when they are up for their turn no one does any moving around.  The kid was just trying to ask Robert his name.”

By that point I was mentally even more ticked off, because there is no way to have a real conversation at morning drop-off  (too hectic) and it was obvious, to me, that there still should have been some adult intervention yesterday.  Perhaps Robbie was trying to hear/listen to what the archery instructor was saying, for example.  I agree that he shouldn’t have hit the kid, but he didn’t have to put up with being annoyed, either!

I gave Robbie a hug and whispered to him that it’s okay to be friendly, and to see if he could have a better day today, and he went on his way.

Then I found that he’d forgotten his water bottle in the car when I got to work.  It’s been super-hot, so I went back to camp to make sure he got his water, and tried to talk about it with the female counselor on duty, but she was packing up to head off for the day’s activities and she wasn’t that approachable – not rude, but stand-offish and not engaging.  I understand she was on a schedule, but more than a single syllable or two would have been good.  I wasn’t really impressed.

Most of that is probably my own anxiety kicking in by that point.  I want to be a good mom, I want to help my son, I want him to be able to help himself, I don’t want him to be bullied but I don’t want him to be punished for trying to stand up for himself…

I just… overall I felt a ton of embarrassment and anxiety FOR Robert, and I felt anxiety on my part because I wanted to defend him, and get to the bottom of what had happened, and I wanted to tell them all to pay more attention and to keep their hands to themselves.  And yes, I know the counselors have a lot of kids to watch and can’t be on everyone’s case every minute.

Robbie’s been looking forward to archery all summer, and now I am afraid because of the way he is re: anxiety and so forth, it has possibly been ruined for him.   He’s mostly done it to himself inside his own head (and I know this, as I probably would react in a similar way), but dang it, isn’t camp supposed to be a fun time?

I’m an introverted, anxiety-ridden person too.  And you know what? I freaking hate camp.

— End of brain spillage —!


4 responses to this post.

  1. Ah, camp. The local catholic camp my sister and I went to from like… I dunno, ages 11-15? had archery (sidenote: One summer, probs age 12 I had a hilarious come-to-jeebus phase involving oversized tiedye shirts and a hugeass wooden cross necklace. And possibly a hair bandanna. Thankfully it faded away a week after I left.) Anyway, archery. I always took it and yet never got any better. The Major Thing though is when its your line’s turn and you step forward for your shot there can be NO FUCKERY since its fairly dangerous and you NEED to listen for your cues (stepping out to grab arrows at the wrong time would be reeeeeally bad -_-) Like if there’s a kid in reaching distance at that point: I’m side-eyeing the instructor and target spacing and shit.

    I was eh on camp. It was more something to do since I didn’t hang out with… well, anyone… during the summer. Most times I was really awkward and swimming in my oversized boy clothes and ratty long hair. The last time I went was cool though, I was a Counselor-In-Training with 3 other dudes and it was way less rigid and regulated. They taught me how to play poker on the tent-camping overnight and I had my first adult-crush – y’know, one with that sexual edge? Nothing came of it, too chicken to even try cuz, I dunno, woulda gotten awkward with the others and no concrete signs he was interested… wish he woulda been *grump* I was looking DAMN fine. Sporty-chic and a sense of style (kind of) and new contact lenses and I had a sweet two-piece swimsuit, body consciousness was like nonexistent… summer camp bubble. And a no-other-girls thing. I feel inadequate around other women. OMG now that I think about it I was probably awkwardly flirting and not realizing I was awkward! Crap. Memory tainted…! Nooooooooo


  2. Yep. I think every kid does offhand comments like that. It comes with the godlike sheen parents have when you’re younger. Even when you’re a little older and know that they aren’t omniscient… it lingers.


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