A friend of mine signed up her 10 year old daughter, Emma, for a one week soccer camp. But Emma hates sports. So why on earth would she do such a thing?!
Somewhere along the way, between working full time, taking care of her aging parents, along with a divorce, years of being a single parent and then getting re-married, the idea of getting Emma involved in sports was lost.
A few months back, Emma stated, “I don’t do sports.”
In that moment, my friend felt like she’d really failed Emma. It’s not that being part of a sport in and of itself is the most important thing. It just made her sad to think that at only 10 years of age, her daughter had already ruled out this entire arena of life that can be so very fulfilling.
When summer camp sign ups came along, my friend sat her daughter down and talked to her about what they could do this summer in terms of camp options. She told her, “I want you to try out some sports camps, just to see what it’s like. You can’t say you don’t like something that you’ve never tried.” Emma reluctantly agreed.
A week of soccer camp was up first. As the day approached, Emma was dreading it. She even cried a couple of times over this. My friend bought Emma a pink pair of shoes she can actually run in along with some athletic gear. Emma already loves to shop, just like her mom, and this seemed to take the edge off.
Well, today was the first day. My friend dropped Emma off. After the drop off, my friend texted me, “Looked like 10-12 kids. All boys but one. It might be a tough evening.”
My heart ached for my friend and for Emma. At least there was one other girl. But I knew my friend would spend a day of second guessing herself while trying to stay focused at work.
At lunch, I touched based with my friend to see how she was doing. She recognized that it’s one week. It’s only 5 days. There are children all over this world who truly suffer. Being forced to attend soccer camp for 5 days cannot be considered suffering. And maybe a little suffering will build some character? Needless to say, it had already a long day for her.
Just before the afternoon sitter was to pick up Emma, her mom texted Emma and asked her daughter to text a selfie with an update on her day. 20 minutes later, a selfie of a smiling girl,
“My eyes burn!! I forgot my water bottle today too!! It was also tiring and fun”
My friend was elated, “Fun! She had fun. I’m so glad she had fun. I’m so relieved she had fun!”
Her goal was for Emma to SEE herself as a girl who can do sports. Over dinner, Emma was non-stop chatter which isn’t typical for her. She talked all about the things she had learned and how someone said she was a good kicker and on and on. Emma found a water bottle and her mom got Emma some sunscreen that wouldn’t be so hard on her eyes when she got sweaty again tomorrow. Emma picked out her outfit for the next day and even packed her lunch!
My friend didn’t know where this may lead but this process brought back some options today that had been ruled out a few months ago. All thanks to summer day camps and being willing to make a commitment…for 5 full days.
On deck for Emma this summer: Volleyball camp, Biking/Cycling Camp, Science Camp, some summer school, a couple of vacations and even one week of more traditional day camp. I’m excited to see how Emma and her mom comes out the other side of this.