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Sleep-away camp

By Robin Dearing

See that face? That's the face of a kid who just finished a week at sleep-away camp. You might see from her shirt that she attended CMU's Middle School Music Camp.

Here are all the kids who participated:

It's an excellent program for middle-school kids who are studying voice, orchestra or band. Mar was part of the Mesa Singers. Here they are preforming on the last day of camp:

Seeing these middle school kids preform in the choirs, jazz band, orchestra and band has been the highlight of my summer so far. There's something about kids making music that strikes a chord in me. I love seeing the potential in kids.

Faculty from the university and schools in the valley spent the week working with the kids. The counselors who stayed with the kids in the dorms were all CMU music majors. They had numerous classes throughout the day mixed in with free time and fun activities. They were on the go from the time they got up until lights out.

Mar learned so much.

And I did, too.

I learned that Margaret can get along just fine without me skulking about. She managed her lingering stomach issues without complaint. She shared a suite and a bathroom with a bunch of other girls — luckily one of them was a friend she's known since she was born. I was so relieved to hear that she knew someone there.

Oh yeah, did I mention that I was out of town when camp started? Yeah, my mom took her. I cried a little when I saw this picture of Mar getting settled on campus:

Look at her. She's so put together and confident. 

Mar had a great experience at her first sleep-away camp. Bill and I used Mar's week away to catch up on some sleep, paddle down the river in our canoe and ride around on the motorcycle a lot. I never had to tell anyone to pick up after themselves and no one gave me any sass. It was kinda nice, but I was never so happy to see this face as I was last Friday:

It's true that children are never really "ours," we just get to help them prepare for their lives on their own. Each step toward independence and self-sufficiency is critical even if it does pain a mother's heart.

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