herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

If it's summer time, then it must be time to pack the children off to a camp

Children playing
Children playing

When I was young, I was happy with the field out the front to play in and the friends on the road to play with. Summer days were long and filled with games. I'd run in to have my sandwich and a glass of milk, knock it back in two minutes and run out again. When it got dark, I'd be in trouble if any of my sisters would have to come and find me. They were older and cooler and never happy to be sent looking for me.

We've all blabbered on with this type of nostalgic twaddle. Yes, summers were warmer, Kool Pops were the business and life was simpler and happier. A childhood memory is always wonderful.

Things, in fairness, are very different now. Parents are more reluctant to let their children out for hours at a time. That blind, naive faith in humankind has gone forever and we are much more aware of the dangers that children may face.

INTERNED

The answer? Camps! The country has gone camp mad. There's a camp for everything. Sport, music, language, dance, arts and crafts. You can pretty much have your child interned in camp for the whole summer. But it is going to cost you.

A football camp run by the FAI will see you pay €65 for the week. A five-day rugby camp is €85.

I remember wanting to go to the Gaeltacht as a child, but it was just too expensive. I really don't know how parents manage it today. It can be €800 for three weeks in the Gaeltacht.

The only camp I went to was the Rialto Summer Project. We had baking classes and watched movies. The one thing we all wanted to do was head to the driving track on the northside of Dublin and learn the rules of the road.

Throwing your child out for the day is a thing of the past. If you want them to do what all the other children are doing, it seems you have to camp it up for July and August. The upside is that they learn new skills and hang out with their pals. The downside? More overtime at work to afford it.

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