One of my nephews is turning 11 tomorrow. As is typical with this generation they are glued to their TV playing whatever is popular nowadays - PS3, Xbox, Wii... Gone are the days of playing outside, riding your bike, and getting mud on your pants. Now when I was growing I happened to do none of those things either but at least I wasn't playing Atari 12 hours a day. Mostly because it would overheat and quit working but still. Give me a good book and I would lock myself in my room until I was done. Granted I didn't have a lock on my door and I shared a room with my older sister until I was about 15 so the room was more hers than mine but you get the point.
I come from a big family. And my big family reproduced in big numbers as well. There are 16 or 17 nieces and nephews (it's hard to keep up) so needless to say a girl can go broke buying gifts for every single one of them. Especially when a PS3 game is $50 a pop (which is the only thing on their wish list) The only reason this little rug-rat is getting anything from me is because he is also my godson. My brother (his godfather) called me to coordinate this year's birthday gift. He found out that my sister (my nephews' mother) was getting him an itouch. My brother's idea was to get him some kind of accessory to go with the itouch. I couldn't believe this. I don't have an itouch. Why should I contribute to further itouch happiness for a little kid who doesn't work. NO. NO I said. I had to draw a line. A line had to be drawn. (I feel that when you repeat yourself you further make your point) I was determined to come up with a gift that had substance. One that I could be morally proud of.
I came up with a brilliant idea. This kid is going to summer camp!!!! He needs to do something other than playing a video game or watching a movie or listening to his ipod. He needs to interact with other kids and have conversations that don't revolve around level 343 and saving the princess from a giant talking squid. No I never went to camp. I had no idea they existed when I was his age and it's a good thing I didn't know about them. Do you know that they have camps where you can dissect and learn about animal organs? There is another camp where you can learn to be an animal vet or be a zookeeper and learn to clean, feed, and train zoo animals. There is even a camp where you can pretend you are CSI agent and you learn how to take fingerprints and cast shoe prints. How cool is that? After reading all the choices I went back to make sure the age limit was 13 and not 31. I wanted to go. (Ok, ok - I'm not 31 either). So after I gave him a list of camps (from a list of camps I had already pre-picked. Some camps are not made of substance - Learn How Slushies Are Made - no thank you, I am on a substance mission.) he selected the Forensic Scientist camp. My heart was over joyed. Finally a gift of substances. I gift I could be proud of. Perhaps because of this camp he will grow up and become a forensic scientist and solve important cases, discover who steals my coke from the community fridge at work, although my name is clearly written on it, or finds out who really killed JFK - what? It could happen.
Turns out substance is just like healthy food - all the good stuff for you is expensive. Instead of spending $25 on an itouch caring case, I am going to spend over $100 on a 5 day camp. That is only one third of the cost. My brother and sister are going to pay the rest. Substance camps are not cheap.
Here is the card I made him for his birthday. I really liked how it turned out. It's one of my favorites
Do you have kids? What are they doing for the summer? I won't judge if they will be playing video games all summer :)