This past weekend I was invited to do something that forced me to step way outside my comfort zone and it was the best thing I could have done.
I remember receiving the email invite to visit Muskoka Woods with a group of other moms and their kids. The first thing that went through my mind was how good this could be for Mr K and I. We often don’t get one on one time, and this would be something that I thought could be perfect for him as he has always been so against the idea of camp. This was camp for 2 days with the comfort of his mom by his side.
When I told my husband about it he laughed a little. He knows me so well that he knew that I was excited about something that I hadn’t really thought through. I never attended a sleep away camp myself and as an adult my idea of camping is staying at the Holiday Inn. I have told him in the past that if the kids ever want to go camping he is taking them, so I can understand why he laughed at me! I didn’t have anything camp related to bring on this trip, I had to borrow from family.
For whatever reason I didn’t care, I was excited and so was Mr K. I was shocked he was so into the idea, he didn’t even hesitate for a second about it. Must have been the idea that he and I were going together. After I told him about the bus he was counting down the hours until we left. I remember the night before having huge hesitations about not driving myself, not having control, but I knew that it would crush him to not take the bus. He spent the night before we left so excited that he couldn’t sleep so he instead drew a picture of a coach bus for our driver.
We enjoyed the bus ride and arrived at Muskoka Woods in amazing time, everyone was so excited when we pulled in. Greeted by the amazing staff and taken to our cabins to settle in for a few minutes. I joined a cabin with 2 wonderful moms and their boys, it was perfect as one boy was the same age as Mr K. We received a tour of the facilities and learned so many amazing things, it had me instantly wishing that I had attended sleep away camp when I was a kid. Everyone met up for lunch where they told us a little bit more about what life was like there for the kids. We enjoyed what camp director, Chris said was the favourite staff meal – chicken burgers. I remember being scared of what it would be, I pictured a day old McChicken sandwich. I was so pleasantly surprised, it was actually really good! Even Mr K ate his entire sandwich. Kids were asked to pick what group they wanted to go in and without hesitation Mr K headed over to Brillo.
We were told what our afternoon activities would be. Ours were the giant swing, tennis and B3 (inline and skate boarding). Mr K surprised me when he was excited to try the giant swing and offered to go first! Without hesitation he got himself harnessed up and up he went. I was so focused on making sure my phone was ready to take video that I wasn’t noticing how scary it really was, the other moms screams as he released the cable said it all! He loved it so much he was the only one in our group to go again.
As the afternoon progressed I started to notice how confident he was and how he seemed willing to try anything. This was a side of him that I had never witnessed before.
He jumped on a skateboard and although he wasn’t Tony Hawk he kept at it. It really helped that Muskoka Woods has the most amazing instructors who specialize in the area they work and are so encouraging to the kids. They seemed to really love what they did and working with the kids. Never once did I feel like they thought my cutely awkward boy wasn’t cut out for this, they kept at it and he had so much fun. The day was finished with another great meal where Mr K decided where we sat (again showing this confident side that made me so proud and melted my heart). The group then enjoyed s’mores, campfire songs and stories with the staff.
Day 2 was filled with more activities and more opportunities for me to be blown away by boy that he had become. I remember this shy little guy who wouldn’t try anything new and always had to have Mom or Dad by his side. He has grown up and I couldn’t be more proud of him. By this time we had gotten to know our amazing counsellor, Brillo. He is actually in charge of the WILD (age 7-9) group and took his weekend to spend with us. You can tell instantly that all of the staff at Muskoka Woods love what they do and making it the most amazing experience for the kids who attend.
I sat back with a smile on my face as he would take off on his own to the meeting spot. As he would sit himself at a table full of kids that he didn’t really know well. That he would try something he wasn’t sure of, and give it his all. Our short 24 hours at camp taught me that I can jump outside my comfort zone and survive and it taught him that camp isn’t all that bad.
He was sad to leave, as the bus pulled away he told me he wanted to stay. I asked him if he would like to go back for a week and he said yes. He said YES! This is the kid who was unsure about day camp. He was sad to say goodbye to the Muskoka Woods friends he had met, especially Brillo.
So we will continue to talk about camp, the friends we met and the possibilities for next summer. We might actually try their Test Drive program. I know that I will be comfortable with him heading off to camp knowing that he will be alright!
- Lindsay Brewda is a graphic designer, owner of GraceAnnouncements.com, wife and mother of two. A chocolate lover and Pearl Jam fan, Lindsay also loves to blog about her crazy life - raising kids while running a business!