Monday, July 25, 2005


OSFO is loving day camp and that's a good thing. At the beginning of the summer OSFO was anti-camp. She tried a day camp two years ago and said, "Never again," It was a gymnastics day camp and OSFO had big expectations: she probably expected to spend the entire day jumping on a trampoline and doing cartwheels.

Turns out, the kids had to do quite a bit of exercise in the morning. Warm ups. And OSFO wasn't too crazy about THAT. One time they went to a public pool on Douglas Street in Brooklyn and OSFO claims the water was really, really shallow: "Two feet high, Mom. Not so great for swimming." She didn't much like the kids either.

Okay, okay. Smartmom let OSFO quit after a week and OSFO happily hung around the house. Smartmom tried not to think about the hundreds of dollars wasted.

Last summer, day camp was, of course, out of the question. OSFO and Smartmom spent afternoons at the pool in the Mariott Hotel in downtown Brooklyn, where they enjoyed the sauna, the whirlpool, and a chance for OSFO to take swimming lessons.

As this summer approached, Smartmom wasn't sure what OSFO would be up for. When Smartmom found a chess camp at a place called "Let's Play Chess," a small storefront on Fourth Avenue between 8th and 9th Streets, she was surprised when OSFO said yes. For three intensive hours a day, it was chess, chess, and more chess.Smartmom signed OSFO up for one week as an experiment and the "anti-camper" seemed to enjoy it. But Smartmom only paid for one week - she wasn't going to get burned again.

At the end of the week, the teacher gave OSFO a trophy because "she improved the most of everybody this week." That was a big thrill. But there were no girls at the chess camp and just a group of slightly hyperactive boys. OSFO was itching to hang out with girls and to go swimming.

That's when she asked if she could join her best friend at a camp called Kim's Kids where they do swimming, hiking, and special trips.

"But you hate day camp," Smartmom said. "I know. But I want to try this one," OSFO replied. "Well, if I'm going to pay the money, you have to promise not to quit. You have to make an effort to like it," Smartmom said firmly. "I will," OSFO said.

Smartmom had to jump over hoops to get OSFO into Kim's Kids, which is run by a fifth grade teacher at PS 321 who really knows what he's doing. But Smartmom being Smartmom was able to do it. She begged, she pleaded, she filled out the forms and handed over a check for $475 dollars.

After the first day at Kim's Kids, Smartmom knew it was a go. "It was great!" OSFO exclaimed, still wet from the beach with swatches of sunburn under her eyes. "And my counselor is really pretty," she added. All the kids look exhausted but like they had enjoyed themselves. Smartmom knew it was the kind of camp that even a avowed "anti-camper" like OSFO could enjoy.


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