Summer Adventure Camp

We have had an incredibly busy schedule—keeping up with our kids’ schedules this summer. Park City is an embarrassment of riches in many areas, and kids’ summer camps are no exception.

Lance attended two separate weeks of camp at the Utah Olympic Park (UOP)—he tried what amounted to about a kajillion sports, including ski jumping into the Splash Pool, and—wait for it—luge. Gulp.

Also on the Menu O’ Fun this summer: skateboard camp, karate camps, and the delightfully injury-risk-free tie-dye camp and art camp. And, of course, they made time in their hectic schedules of fun, fun and more fun, to attend a couple of days at Deer Valley’s Summer Adventure Camp.

This is not to say the summer has been without challenges. At UOP, Lance had to face his fears before jumping into the pool—and we had to do some fleet-footed parenting work to get him to even try. But he did—and whether he ever takes up freestyle skiing in earnest is of no consequence. What he learned from the process of learning was invaluable.

Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp was a great learning experience, too. For one thing, the kids got to go to the Utah Museum of Natural History on a field trip. It’s a beautifully designed facility, and every exhibit has interactive elements for visitors of all ages. The next day was “Silly Sloppy Science,” which found the kids using recycled material to build boats, making glop, and lots of other silly, science-y things.

And while there were lots of obvious learning experiences to be had in those days, we all learned a few nice life lessons in the balance. For instance, because the first day the kids attended camp was a field-trip day, there was a lot of hustle-and-bustle, and not a lot of get-to-know-you time. It was something I hadn’t considered when I signed them up—and something I’ll take into account in the future. Both boys greeted me with relief when I picked them up, and spent much of the evening telling us why they had not had fun at camp. Both asked if they had to go the next day.

“Yes,” I told them. “You are going to give this camp a second chance. You’ve never had a bad day at Deer Valley, and everyone’s entitled to a bad day.”

When we arrived at camp, the counselors seemed genuinely happy to see my boys, which was reassuring. Still, I took the opportunity to share the kids’ reports from the previous day. My goal was to give constructive feedback, and offer context that might be helpful to the counselors. It appeared to be received that way. Still, I mentioned it to the desk staff on my way out. Impressively, the woman I spoke with asked specific questions about what the kids hadn’t liked, what I’d found disappointing—and took notes. They also told me they appreciated my honest, constructive feedback. This thrilled me. My measure of good service isn’t a trouble-free experience, but how the team handles the situation once it’s been brought to light. By the time I left, I felt confident the kids would have a better day. The proof was in the pudding—we showed up early and had to bribe them away from the fabulous time they were having. Thank goodness for the frozen yogurt at Deer Valley, Etc.

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