Recently, when my oldest and dearest friend's twelve-year-old son went off to overnight camp she anxiously awaited his first letter. He couldn't wait to go home to his "comfy bed," and didn't want to spend another minute "singing silly camp songs." Though he wasn't exactly having a first-rate experience, he came up with a very creative escape plan involving "tactical units, Navy SEALs, and a Hummer." Afterward, his mother didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or contact Mensa.
This reminded me of my oldest son's overnight camp adventure when he was around the same age. Because the lake was too cold for swimming at the beginning of the summer, most of the activities centered around snapping wet towels at each other in the shower. Some boys even snuck in portable TVs, and preferred watching baseball games to actually playing in them. In one of his letters, he even offered to take his little brother to Toys "R" Us as soon as he got home. Since the camp assured us that he was doing fine, we painfully decided to make him stick it out for the full four weeks. I'll never forget how thin he looked when he came off of the bus, so we quickly began serving up his favorite foods. He was so happy to be home that he made his bed everyday, and didn't renege on his promise to take his brother toy shopping.
My older brother also was homesick when he was away at baseball camp. I remember that we even drove up with close family friends to see him and his buddy during visitor's weekend. He was so grateful for the visit, and was even more appreciative when he came home. Not only did he offer to do extra chores around the house, but he didn't make me cry for at least a week. I still think that he missed my mom's cooking the most.
It's not too late for the men in our lives to partake in the camp experience. There are adult camps offering everything from cooking to cattle driving. They could partner up with you for co-ed soccer, and ballroom dancing, or they could take the dog instead to Camp Unleashed. There are many camps to choose from that offer three to five day stays at different times of the year.
Since young boys return home anxious to please, the possibilities are endless for what older men are willing to do. To insure the best results, I would recommend issuing an iron-clad agreement with an increased life insurance policy. Even an unsuspecting cooking camp could lead to imminent danger, so no camp is completely safe. For example, if he chooses to risk unnecessary knee, or hip replacement at a baseball camp, make sure you have a sparkling diamond before he slides home.
Who am I kidding? A couple of romantic dinners, a weekend getaway, or even a few chick flicks would be nice. Throw in a day of shopping without sighing, whining, or excessive eye rolling, and you're in business. However, if your partner wants to go away to ballroom dancing camp without you, proceed with caution. Book a trip to Las Vegas with your girlfriends, and waltz him right out the door for good.