Posts By: Guest Blogger

My Son’s Camper Achievement Award

My 12 year-old son is in his element when he’s at camp. Running around, getting muddy, hiking, swimming, skipping stones and catching frogs with a bunch of kids is pretty much a dream come true for him.

He always comes home with stories about the adventures they’ve had and new camp songs he’s learned. His arms are covered with dozens of friendship bracelets. Apparently, the rule is that the bracelets have to fall off naturally, and you can’t TAKE them off no matter how dull and tattered the once brightly coloured bracelets become.

The first year he went to camp, he’d never been away from home for a two-week stretch before. His big sisters were there so I knew they’d help him out if he got homesick. I also knew that they’d probably keep an eye out for any of his lost belongings.

Last year, he went solo, which made labeling all the more important. We went with the Limited Edition Camp Combo clothing labels for kids and had him choose the icon. We played a game by laying out all his clothes into piles, labeling them and taking pictures (Okay, it was mostly a game for me!) Clothes and hats were labeled with Tag Mates (my favourite!) and Skinny Minis were on all his toiletries. The beach towels got labeled (Tag Mates on the care tags), flashlight and water bottle got Sticky Labels, running shoes got Shoe Labels and his duffle bag and guitar case got the metal Bag Tags.

At the end of each camp session, funny, personalized camp awards for kids are given to each camper to recognize one of his or her most well known achievements. When we picked Eric up at the bus stop last year, he came down the steps of the bus, beaming with pride as he displayed his special award. It was the “Most Items in the Lost and Found” award!

When we got home, I dug all the sandy clothes out of the duffle bag and threw them directly into the washing machine. Fresh from the dryer, we laid them all out and compared them to the “before camp” photo.  And you know what? Almost everything made it back home. I think we were missing one water shoe and a t-shirt.

Without Mabel’s Labels’ camp clothing labels, I doubt Eric would have been reunited with his stuff and he would have missed out on winning that cherished award. Pretty soon he’ll be heading back to camp on that bus, everything labeled, and totally prepared to defend his title!

Have you got your Limited Edition Camp Combo yet? Hurry! It’s available until June 30th!

 

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

- See more at: http://blog.mabelslabels.com/index.php/2014/05/page/2/#sthash.Dz5uGm1E.dpuf

My Parenting Fail Hat-Trick

There are some days that I feel pretty great in my role as parent. Maybe I’ve handled a difficult situation calmly or I’ve made a meal that everyone enjoys and there’s no squabbling at the dinner table. Then there’ll be a day like last week that makes me feel like I’m failing as a parent.

My daughter sent me a text, clearly articulating all the reasons she was upset with me.

1) I had made her a sandwich that had cucumbers on it (she hates cucumbers). 

2) The night before, I had forgotten that she was working and needed the car, and told my husband he could take it.

3) She’d had a really important day at school yesterday, and I hadn’t asked her about it at dinner.

Wow. Having all those things pointed out so matter-of-factly hit me hard and I did my best to try to smooth things over. I thought I’d deal with the lunch fiasco first, in a light hearted way. “Well, you’re lucky, I forgot to make sure your brother was up and out the door early for band practice, and he didn’t even GET a lunch!” and, “Wait, you hate cucumbers? I thought you hated CARROTS!” Then came my helpful advice, “Just pick the cucumbers off.” When attempted humour and defensiveness didn’t work, I turned to justification for the next two issues. “It’s so hard to keep everyone’s schedules straight,” and “I was going to ask you about your day, but you mentioned it before I had a chance.”

If it had been just one thing she wouldn’t have felt so upset, but THREE? That was a parenting fail Hat-trick! She felt unloved and for that, I was heartbroken, and I felt guilty. I asked if we could get together that night and talk about it. She said “whatever” but I took that as a positive sign (ever the optimist)! She had a poetry book that she’d ordered that had just arrived at our local book store so I made a special effort to pick it up and bring it home as a peace offering. When I knocked on her door with the book in hand, she was thrilled. We hugged, I told her that I loved her and that I was so sorry that I’d made her feel badly. She apologized too and assured me that we were good.

Here’s what I learned that day:

1) Perception is reality. My actions made it seem that my daughter wasn’t important to me so that’s how she felt, even though that’s the farthest thing from the truth.
2) Healing starts when you say you’re sorry.
3) It was never about the cucumbers. That was just the final straw.

Do you have any experience with parental guilt or parenting fails to share? Come on, we’ve all got ‘em!

 

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

The gift that keeps on giving

This guest blog post comes from Kim Graydon of Glen Bernard Camp.

As a parent, wouldn’t you just love to find that ONE gift for your child they would continue to love their whole life through?  Ready?  It IS out there….it is the gift of summer camp.   But what exactly are the benefits of summer camp for kids? What are you giving your son or daughter by investing in the gift of camp?  You are buying them fun, adventure, outdoor skills, an extended slumber party, freedom and acceptance to dress up in crazy wigs and clothes, a break from their technology and more!   As someone who went to camp from the age of 7 through to 20, here is what I know my mother bought me (and now what I am giving my children).

I was given life skills.  She gifted me the exposure to finding out I was resilient. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  I’m one of those people. I can thank her for giving me the skills and knowledge to find my way out of a forest using a compass.  This is still a relevant skill despite what our children say!!  I am proud to have been given the network of women I am a part of today.  I can call on any of my “summer sisters” for advice, support or potential job prospects.  It is like a club but you don’t have to pretend to be something you aren’t. PHEW!  Kudos to her for teaching me that my behaviour CAN impact the life of a child.  I learned at the age of 16 that I was a role model and part of a team.

Your gift of camp will teach your child that she/he matters to people in addition to their family.  They will learn to belong to a group that feels like family.  Your investment will equip them with skills that will not only help them, but that will be used to give back to others as they go through life.  You will ensure that your child begins to learn conflict resolution in a safe, supportive environment.  Your gift will bring a lifetime of happiness and fond memories.  Isn’t that amazing?  Imagine if you gave your child a toy that brought them happiness for decades?  There would be a crazy rush during the holidays to get our hands on that one, elusive gift.

There are so many different types of camps to choose from.  Start investigating!  Talk to other Moms, go online, get referrals or book a tour of a camp you are interested in.  Some camps will even come to your house and visit with you and your potential camper!  Camp is a lifelong learning adventure.  Take the plunge!

 

About the Author:

Kim Graydon is the Associate Director of Development at Glen Bernard Camp in Hunstville, Ontario.

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