Girls Camp: A Success Story

Jul 9 2011

I told someone this week that I have a “behaviorally challenged child.”

That was a strange thing to have fall out of my mouth.  I probably should’ve just said that Aden is “naughty.” But she’s not always naughty.  Sometimes she’s downright angelic, which makes naughty seems too simplistic and more than a little unfair.

But really, Beth?  “Behaviorally challenged?”  Gimme a break.  Like not following the rules is her disability or something.

Honestly, Aden’s sense of spunk and self are two of my favorite things about her.  I don’t want her to stifle her individuality on the altar of senseless conformity.  I adore my weird kid.  But I do – oh, I really, really do – want her to learn to navigate social situations so she can have the friends she so desperately craves.

So I sent Aden to Girls Camp this week with an enormous amount of hope and some trepidation.

She was well prepared, particularly by her 4-year-old brothers who reminded her at every turn to not flick, hit, bite, push, headbutt, kick or thump anyone.  Not even if she was really, really mad.  We rehearsed plans and coping mechanisms.  I wrote a veritable Bible on All Things Aden to help her camp counselor and staff members navigate communication and head off potential problems.

And then the day came to send her off.

We walked together to the van that would cart her away.

I was prepared for nearly every eventuality — anything from Aden coming home early to her triumphant return at the end of the week.

When the van left the long driveway last Sunday full of little girls, I held my breath…

…for an entire week.

It is one relieved and thrilled mama who writes to report that Aden, indeed, made her triumphant return.

She did it!  And she did it well.

But she did not do it alone, and I am so, so grateful for the community of women who surrounded and supported my kid this week.

Aden was at camp with her Jody.

Aden’s Jody gave up an entire week of summer to lead recreation at Girls Camp, and she did it in large part so she could be on hand to love my kid and help make camp a success.  Seriously – who does that?  Jody!  Jody and Jesus.  But Jesus has this thing about not manifesting himself, whereas Jody ROCKS at manifestation.  She was flesh and blood, hugs and encouragement.  She was Jesus to my kid.

Later this summer, when I tell you that we take Jody on vacation with us, you’ll know why.  Everyone needs some Jesus on vacay.

And, in addition to the Jodester, there was Katee, Miss Aden’s almost sister…

…who got to be Aden’s junior counselor.

And there was Heidi who did outdoor adventures with the girls (and texted me encouraging messages about the way my kid was kickin’ it at camp… but in the good kicking kind of way).  And Grace, who’s 8 years old and wise and kind, and who’s been willing to let Aden try out friendship on her.

And there was Vicky, the camp director, who Aden decided was her supe-oh, dupe-oh best fwiend.  But whose name Aden didn’t quite remember.  So she called her Vick-EE-ness, which sounds just like Vicky + penis, but without the “p.”  So that was great in an uplifting and encouraging way for Vicky.  (You’re welcome, Vicky.)

And I’m sure there are dozens more.  But I’ve “anded” enough for today, so I’m gonna give you a break and log the heck off of here.

Right after I say… I’m so glad for my community.  My “come unity” of people who will love my kid in my stead.  Who challenge her and believe in her in ways that take a mama’s dream and shoot it past the goal line and all the way to the moon.  Behaviorally challenged?  Ha!  My kid did GREAT.

An ENORMOUS thank you from our house to the cast of thousands who make Girls Camp possible.  I have a very tired, very happy, very proud little girl in my house.  And a very happy, very proud mama, too.