“Can I come home?” my 12 year old Boy Scout camper said last night with a bit of a puppy dog look on his face.

It had been rainy, muddy, muggy, and buggy by mid-week at Scout Camp. Seeing his parents at Family Night only reminded our kiddo of: air-conditioning, showers, and his own soft bed.

“No, you’ll be fine. You’ll feel proud of what you accomplish this week,” I said giving him no room to back out.

That’s when I gave a last hug and slowly started walking backwards, deciding it was time to say good-bye for the evening.

Some Scout Leaders hate Family Night.

They boys are JUST starting to adjust to a routine and living conditions. Then mom and dad show up, looking clean, showered and well-rested, reminding them of home. That’s when a First Year Scout’s will buckles under the discomforts of the day.

It happened to our oldest during his first week at Summer Camp. The weather had been even rainier that week that it had during this past week.

My husband John had gone out for Family Night that time.

All of the Scouts had gone through 3 days of constant rain and there was no end of it in sight. They were wet, tired and discouraged. Family Night had to take place in a large covered pavilion because the Scout’s campsite was a soggy, muddy mess.

Some of the First Year’s were crying. Most, even the older more experienced Scouts, asked their parents that night if they could come home. Some of the parents gave in. Our oldest asked as well, but John said no and told him to tough it out. (It was a good thing his mother wasn’t there!!!)

Why say no? Why be so cruel? You might ask.

Because it’s worth it.

Because they are also learning skills which will boost their self-esteem.

Because if they persevere they just might learn to have fun in the midst of their circumstances.

Because by experiencing some hardship they learn they can endure tough things.

Because in learning they can endure tough things, they will gain confidence for life.

Life will present our children challenges and obstacles. It’s so important for them to learn they CAN overcome.

Giving kids an opportunity to be out of their element and learn new skills alongside their peers is a tremendous confidence-builder, and Cafe O’Play is happy to be offering some Camp opportunities as well in a few weeks.

Kid’s won’t have to endure the elements in our Camps (oh, darn!), but they will be immersed into some topics that will get their minds and bodies active.

For those mathematical and analytical kids we’ve got Mad Science “Fun-gineering” Camp for 5-12 year olds, July 31-Aug. 4th, from 1pm-4pm. We are thrilled to be partnering with Mad Science of Northeast Ohio, and registration (northeastohio.madscience.org) includes Play Area-action as well as thought-provoking chemistry, photography, and engineering projects.

For our creative kids we are offering 2 Theater Camps during August 7th-11th: Broadway Buddies for 4-6 year olds, from 10am-12pm, or Youth Theatre Play-shop for 7-10 year olds, from 2pm-4pm. Campers will be acting, designing, and directing as well as burning off steam in the Play Area. (Snacks will be provided as well). Cafeoplaytheatrecamp.eventbrite.com

Sadly, we can’t guarantee your kids wet sleeping bags or bug bites.

But we can guarantee that your kids will have independence, new friends, and that they will be proud of what they accomplish that week.

Soon after our 3 boys come home from Scout Camp this weekend, our daughter goes on her first week of overnight camp.

Sigh. It looks like there is some rain in the forecast for that week as well.

That’s good.

Why should the boys have all the fun?