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How Can I Think Of Summer Camp When It's Snowing?

Camp-photo2 The e-mails from the preschool started in early February: "Summer camp registration is starting soon! Don't miss out!" For the most part, I ignored each notice. After all, summer is still so far away - how can I think about sunscreen and sandals when I'm still knee deep in snow?

Registration opened for summer camp mid-month, and I still didn't jump to get my girls registered. My husband is hoping his contract job will turn permanent before summertime and I'm planning to have a different job before then as well, meaning we don't know what our needs will be for summer. Should we register them for full-time camp or part-time? Depending on circumstances, we may need the full-time coverage or we may need the cheaper part-time option.

While I understand schools like to plan their camp programs as early as possible, I wonder how early is too early? In Columbus it seems like you have to have your summer plans locked down before March to give you a chance at scoring a spot in a summer camp. I always wonder what happens to families who have plans change between winter and summer. Are they stuck giving up their prized camp slot and scrambling to find some other care arrangement for the summer?

Earlier this week, the director of my daughter's preschool approached me with the warning that we needed to register the girls soon if we expect to have a spot. I asked how soon was "soon" and was told that both of their age groups are already more than half-full and could fill up within the next two weeks. As soon as I got home, I looked through the registration papers, a wave of anxiety running through me as I tried to predict if we needed 2-day, 3-day or full-week camp. And I haven't even had time to look at the other amazing camps offered throughout Columbus, all of which are likely filling up just as fast.

I'm not asking summer camp programs to have last-minute registration. I know a lot of planning goes into each program. But I wish they could give us just a little more time to firm up our summer needs before demanding we register now, now, NOW! Columbus Parent magazine publishes a camp guide in March, but by the time you check with the camps in the guide, several are already wait-listing kids.

Both of our daughters were in summer camp last year, and they had an incredible experience. Each day they came home happy, exhausted, and full of stories of friendship and fun. And it's because of that knowledge that I happily jump through hoops to guarantee them another fun summer, even if it means twisting and manipulating my schedule this summer if it doesn't work out as we planned when we signed up for camp in the winter. 

Original post to Ohio Moms Blog.

Christina can also be found at her personal blog, A Mommy Story.