Today is a milestone; one I kept thinking about the entire week prior.  My nine-year-old just left for her first sleepaway camp.  As I told my husband after she was whisked away in the carpool van, “This is harder than the first day of kindergarten.” 

OK, it’s only two nights and three days at 4H camp in Nebraska, six hours away. (Did you know Nebraska has a National Forest?  That was news to me!  Sorry  Midwesterners….) 

I’m actually very excited for her.  I have mostly great memories of camp, and I think I went to a longer sleepaway camp when I was her age.  It’s just the rite of passage that’s got me going. 

Packing brought back memories.  The lists have not changed much!  Four shirts, four pairs of pants or shorts, two bathing suits, sunscreen, bug spray….I don’t have high expectations that everything will return, but I don’t even care.  This is my daughter’s first chance to be really independent and to test her confidence in a camp situation.  That’s the important part of this trip. 

And I’ll get to see where she’s been on Wednesday afternoon, because I’m doing the pick-up carpool.  I’m sure the first stop will be the CAMP STORE!  Wasn’t that always the most fascinating place for a nine- or ten-year-old girl with purchasing power?? 

Do you have any favorite camp memories or camp stories? 

Mama J is a (highly sensitive) writer, parent, and stepparent in Northern Colorado.  Check out information about her book, Stepparenting the Grieving Child, at


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