Each one of our three children have attended various summer camps through the years. We have packed them up and sent them off to the woods for church camp or off to a college for a sports camp. In anticipation of their week away, they eagerly pack up their clothes, sleeping bags, swimsuits, bug spray, sunscreen or sports gear. When they were younger, I could sense both their excitement and hesitation about being away from home for an extended amount of time. As they have grown older, any hint of hesitation has disappeared. Going away to summer camp is one of many steps on the road to independence from their family.
Yesterday we once again sent our oldest son off to summer camp.
But this camp is different from all the others.
Yesterday we put our oldest son on an airplane to New York to attend the West Point Summer Leadership Seminar for the next week. You see, he decided some time around his freshman year that he would like to attend a military academy. He has been working on achieving his goal ever since. As part of that process, he applied to the summer leadership seminars at both the United States Military Academy at West Point and the United States Air Force Academy. He was accepted to both. After finishing his week at West Point and spending a long weekend with us in New York City, we will put him on an airplane to Colorado Springs for his next summer camp at the Air Force Academy.
We have no idea where his interest in this path originated, as we have no significant military background in our family. Nonetheless, we are very proud of him and marvel at his focus and determination to reach his goal.
Sending this child off to summer camp feels very different this time. Although we still packed the clothes, sleeping bag, sunscreen, and other necessary items, this time we sent him away for the next two weeks knowing that his experiences could help him make some very important decisions about his future after graduating next year. To say that his attendance at these summer camps is a step on the road to independence is an understatement.