Summer camps: Makeup? Bikini? No thanks!

Kristy wonders if summer camp is the right place to make kids wear uniforms.

By Kristy Woudstra
Summer camps: Makeup? Bikini? No thanks!

Photo: MrsVega/iStock

I have heard of no electronics at camp (smart phones, portable gaming devices, MP3 players and the like), but no makeup or two-piece bathing suits? That is news to me.

According to an article by the Associated Press: "Of 361 camps surveyed recently by the American Camp Association, about 71% said they have some form of dress code, uniform or restriction on makeup and swimwear. Nearly 22% said such policies are aimed at lessening personal differences to reduce teasing. Others said the idea is to make it easier for campers to focus on having fun."

My daughter, Rory, is going to summer sleep-away camp for the first time in August. This news piece made me check her camp's website for clothing restrictions. While makeup isn't an issue yet (Rory is six), what if she needs a uniform and can't wear her tankini?

Thankfully, I couldn't find a dress code on the website nor did I see any photographic evidence of a uniform.

I would have a hard time if Rory has to wear a uniform and a one-piece. Kids have enough restrictions put on them (for good reason. Remember Lord of the Flies?), and I think they should be able to express themselves through their clothing at least.

Rory has been dressing herself since she was two. As long as it's appropriate (not revealing) and suitable for the weather (no tank tops and shorts in the winter), then I stay quiet no matter what combination she manages to pull together.

I don't think she needs clothing restrictions at camp, either. (I might change my mind in a few years when she's filling her suitcase with tiny tube tops, blue eyeliner and hair straighteners.) To me, she should be busy enough at camp, swimming, hiking, making crafts, reading and meeting new friends that she won't care what she's wearing: uniform or not.

Do you think wearing uniforms benefits girls?

This article was originally published on Jun 19, 2012

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