By Ian Denson
According to the Surgeon General, it is estimated that the average child eats 5,000 pounds of mac n’ cheese a year. Ok, that’s a total exaggeration! But for parents like myself, whose kids eat a steady diet of mac n’ cheese and refuse to try new foods, this exaggeration seems to be dead-on accurate! During the school year, schedules are hectic, children are busy with homework and after school activities, and parents are helpless victims of the craziness that can be family life. Parents learn early to pick and choose their battles, and one battle that I refuse to fight is over dinner. I’ve tried, I’ve bribed, I’ve begged, and I’ve yelled, but I’ve learned that the fight over mac n’ cheese for dinner is one that I am destined to lose. Every. Time.
But parents – There is hope, and its name is Park Shore! Yes, Park Shore Day Camp cured my child’s dietary doldrums, and it can do the same for yours. When my daughter came home from camp after her very first day and told me she loved Park Shore’s juicy burgers, I was shocked – She had refused my every offer of burgers at home! And when she came home after day two begging for me to buy her chicken fries just like she had at lunch, I was in disbelief! What followed for the remainder of the week was a daily recital of the great lunches she ate at camp- baked ziti, pizza, French toast sticks, salad (SALAD!), chicken cutlet on a bun. Holy cow- she had tried more foods in a week than she had tried in the previous 5 years of life!
Park Shore opened her up to trying new things, and I realized that this theme of stepping outside her comfort zone was expanding to all aspects of her life. What was once a very shy, tentative girl, blossomed into a confident, fearless beast all over the course of that first summer. The girl who was once afraid of heights was now climbing to the top of Park Shore’s Extreme Rockwall, bouncing and flipping on Bungee, and traversing the legendary Skytrail,..and she couldn’t wait to tell me all about her first time on those Extremes the moment she stepped foot off the bus! All night long, my once fearful girl bragged about conquering the Skytrail, her smile plastered on her face.
“Dad, I’m so glad my friends and counselors were so encouraging, because without them, I may have chickened out. But the moment I strapped myself into the harness, I knew I could do it. I felt like Wonder Woman! I climbed to the very top of the Sky Trail, and when I looked down, I was no longer afraid! I had a bird’s-eye view of the whole camp, and I could see my friends waving and cheering for me. I could even see Bob in the distance, with Ruby perched and sitting on his shoulder! I loved the challenge of using the ropes to make it through every part of the trail. And it was so cool that I could use different paths to make it all the way to the end. By the time I was done, it was time for our group to go swimming, but I can’t wait to try it again.”
When I asked her what led to this sudden (yet awesome) change in demeanor, my daughter told me that she saw all her friends having the best time ever, and figured, “Hey, why not?!” My daughter’s camp friends and counselors, combined with Park Shore’s thrilling Extremes, sports, and activities, have had a lasting affect and changed my girl’s life forever.
If you are looking for your child to try new things and experiment with journeying outside their comfort zone, Park Shore is the answer. Just ask my daughter…Although you might have to wait until she finishes her lunch!