As I've noted before, signing Leelo up for camp can really suck. There is no reason parents of kids with special needs -- parents who deal with enough challenges already -- should be put through the indignity of having to wait, overnight, outside an office building, so that their child can go to the one local camp that accommodates kids who need full-time aides. The overnight cage match signup also means families who can't spare a parent for the sixteen-hour overnight vigil are out of luck.
My friend and I agreed that signups were sucky and unfair, so I wrote to the camp's administration. I suggested they implement a lottery system so that parents only have to show up for an hour or two during the morning. I cc'd my parent friends on the email. Those friends then replied all, and told the camp staff that they backed up a lottery option, even if it meant some of our kids might not get in. Then we straightened our ties and went back to parenting our children.
The Fall camp registration packed arrived three days ago. And, even though it acknowledged that administrators received suggestions from parents regarding how to ensmoothen the process, they didn't change a damn thing -- except to expressly warn people that they might have to wait overnight, and that we should try to keep our tempers. Awesome.
And you know what caps off that awesomeness? I can't go to the registration -- it's during Seymour's Jackson Hole business trip. When I wrote that email asking for a lottery, I was unknowingly advocating for my own family.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, camp administration people! Why wouldn't you try to make the process easier for yourselves as well as for the families you serve? Do you use the stories of the desperate way parents and caregivers brave near-freezing overnight temperatures to line up for camp to bolster your fundraising, as was suggested by a cynical friend of mine after three beers? Because in case this hasn't come through clearly enough, the overnight signup process not only sucks, but it's completely unfair to families who can't participate. I'm not thinking of us so much (though I am bummed, and Leo's going to be sad) but of families who are constantly excluded from camp because of sign up absurdity. You are amazing people in all other ways; please reconsider, and please don't do this to your campers' families again.