J.O. asks from Novi, MI on February 19, 2011
Swimming at Camp? No Thanks!
There are many great local summer camps for my kids this summer. Some a week, others longer. Many are as short as 3 hours long. Art to nature to sports. Most (nearly all) include swimming. I don't take my 5 kids to waterparks alone b/c I do not feel comfortable watching all of them; I simply can't!
So what does a mom do who doesn't want their kid swimming at camp? The swim time is built into the camp, even art camps! All my kids can swim and are ages 4 to 12, but that has nothing to do with it.
I know of 3 kids who have died in these situations. None personally, but I know of them. Of course I want the kids busy and active this summer, but what to do about the swimming issue. I can't even picture my 4-year-old at a waterpark without me, EVEN though he'd be in the shallow area with his camp. It's a big park and there are plenty of deeper places where something could go wrong. Everything else the camp does sounds wonderful.
C.H. answers from Detroit on February 20, 2011
I kind of agree with you, but my only suggestion is to keep looking.
The Salvation Army in Plymouth runs a summer day camp. You register by the week. They have a couple trips to a water park, but at least 5-6 weeks have no swimming.
M.P. answers from Pittsburgh on February 20, 2011
See if you can do half day. I bet the swimming is in the afternoon so just arrange to pick them up before the swimming portion. I agree with you. I have personally witnessed a near drowning of a 7 year old who was an excellent swimmer. I watch my kids like a hawk now when they are swimming.
R.. answers from Chattanooga on February 19, 2011
I know of several children who have died in car accidents... it doesn't stop me from letting my DD ride in a car. I know several people who have died and been injured riding horses, playing sports, etc. Not going to stop me from allowing my children to enjoy these activities... Prepare your children the best you can... (which, as you said they can swim, you already have.) You can try researching the camp, and see if they have ever had any safety incidents to ease your mind. You might also see if the camp will let you know when they are going to be swiming, and if it would be possible for you to be there for extra supervision.... Other than that, I would try to relax, and allow your kids to enjoy their camp. Remind yourself that not only will the camp directors be there, but the lifeguards at the water park will be too.
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M.W. answers from Nashville on February 19, 2011
I would let them go. There are risky aspects to every part of life, and if you hold back because of what 'could' go wrong then you and your children will miss out on many amazing life moments. Some of my favorite memories are of swimming at camp... back when they allowed us to use rope swings, go out on the lake with canoes (without supervision...). We only had boy scouts as lifeguards! I think that at a water park, with lifeguards, is reasonably safe. Maybe they will allow you to participate on the swim day, and help ease your mind?
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J.B. answers from Atlanta on February 19, 2011
Are they going to waterparks or just a pool? Pools and waterparks have trained lifeguards at them and the camp counselors will be there too. Your kids have a much higher likelihood of being hurt or killed in your car on the way to camp or in the camp bus on the way to some activity than they do going swimming at a pool with lifeguards and camp counselors.
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T.F. answers from Dallas on February 20, 2011
Camps are set up with trained staff. They HAVE to be because they are caring for your children and they take that responsibility on.
You say your kids know how to swim. Rest assured the water areas will have staff watching everyone.
Everybody has heard a horrow story but as mom', we must learn to let go and let our children become independent people. We can't keep them under rocks all their lives and expect them to be well rounded adults at 21.
If you plan to keep them sitting out of fun activities that other kids are participating in...and them watching and knowing about this....then I say do not go to that camp. That isolation alone (other kids seeing them isolated from activities) would do more damage to their self esteem and confidence.
Just plan a camp at home and you supervise everything.
Hopefully you'll come to a solid resolution that works for everyone...
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J.G. answers from Springfield on February 19, 2011
I used to work at a resident camp, and every counselor at the camp had training. Not all were certified life guards, but all received training.
Camps have swim time because the kids LOVE it! Also because it is hot, and having the kids swimming during the hottest part of the day is a very safe way to deal with the heat.
My parents sent us to camps (mostly day camps) every summer, and they all included an afternoon swim. My counselors always kept an eye on us, knew where we were, etc. I really think you can trust the camp to take the safety of campers very seriously. They have to be inspected and certified, they have rules and guidelines to follow, they have insurance to pay, they have a desire to avoid lawsuits. I really think your kids will be very safe.
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M.P. answers from Provo on February 19, 2011
I personally would want them to learn how to swim so the chance of them drowning will be less.
Of course if they learn how it's not a guarantee, but it's better than them never knowing and suddenly find themselves in a situation where they will drowned.
So is there anyway that they can get lessons???
**sorry, just read it with out a screaming baby. I now get that they can swim.
I fully agree with the previous poster, YOU CAN NOT SHELTER THEM FROM EVERYTHING! As horrible as this sounds, eventually they need to break a bone to learn about life! I know the mama bear reaction which you are clearly displaying. I know it WELL, but you can not stop them from everything you are uncomfortable with. What about when they start driving?? If you are 100% against them going swimming with out you, then go just for swimming time. Don't make them be the lame kids sitting pathetically by the side of the pool wishing they were swimming.
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M.L. answers from Colorado Springs on February 19, 2011
I can understand how swimming can seem scary to you! When I was young, a cousin drowned in a Y pool, and I had nightmares about it. Whether my mother had similar nightmares I don't know.
Since you say your children know how to swim, I'm thinking you're concerned that they will not be supervised properly at a camp.
This is something to talk to the camp director about - and say WHY you're asking! You surely won't be the first parent to want to be sure of water safety at a camp. Double-check the camp's past accident records, and ask for references (other camper parents) to talk to.
I happen to be a great worrier (I always have good reasons, of course!), and I have to remember Robert E. Lee's statement, "Never take the counsel of your fears." Have you checked into the availability of water safety lessons for your children? Not just ordinary swim lessons, but lessons in water self-defense, as it were. For an example, my youngest granddaughter (age 1) was taken to private water safety lessons last summer, and they were worth every penny; she was trained in what to do if she were to fall into a pool with her clothing on. Her folks are being transferred (they're Army) and I hope they'll be able to find the same opportunity near their new post so their daughter can continue learning to be safe.
It's very important for your children (and you) to know how to handle yourselves anywhere, and the more confident they are, the more confident you'll be. Doing such lessons now MAY be a better plan than forbidding swimming outright at camp... because often it's exactly what you forbid that a child becomes particularly interested in doing (and for that reason).
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A.M. answers from Dallas on February 19, 2011
This is a tough situation, not sure what I would do here. Can you attend the swim portion of the camp to be an extra set of eyes on your kids? If so then you would feel better and your kids could still participate. If not, perhaps get them early that day so they don't participate or even hire a teen to go along and be an extra hand.
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