A camp-y experience

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Last year my daughter went to sleep-away camp for the first time.

To be honest, I didn't think she'd make it past the first night since she's so girly.

Plus we had a couple unplanned things happen: We found out the friend who asked her to go to camp didn't show, and a swim test was required upon check-in at camp. So we signed in, threw her things on her cabin bunk, and went straight over to the lake (lake, not pool!) for the swim test, which she did not pass with flying colors.

Poor thing, I thought. I'm sure she's coming home now. A little beaten down, but not broken, she decided to stay. And I didn't hear from her until I went back to pick her up five days later. Go figure.

Turns out, this shy-ish little 10-year-old really blossomed without her mom and dad, her brothers, and her usual group of friends to lean on. She toughed it out and became more self-confident. And what more could you ask from a camping experience (except for maybe the friend to actually show up this year)?

Sending your children to camp is a great way for them to learn to be more independent, make new friends and gain new life skills along the way. But where to start? In our Camp Guide, that's where! Look here for listings of camps around Ohio, complete with specialties and pricing.

We have great advice on choosing a camp and how to pack economically, too.

Be sure to check out our new column, Plugged in Parent! Sharon Cindrich writes about real-world tech issues today's families face. Welcome!

Also in this issue, we cover the often misunderstood and often misdiagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Is medication always necessary? Is it safe? What support is available if a child has ADHD? We have the answers.

Are your children getting old enough for "The Talk?" You can stop sweating - we have an article that'll provide age-appropriate guidelines to help you through that sometimes awkward dialog.

And, find the best cell phones for your kids - perhaps one with a GPS to track where they are at all times? (see above for reasons!) We cover the best plans and safety tips.

Finally, ever feel like your child is an oddball? Most of you are nodding, I'm sure. Read our fun look at kids' quirks. Turns out, weird is normal. These silly tidbits will make you smile.

And with spring just around the corner, I'll close with one of my favorite quotes: "Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'" - Robin Williams

Happy March!