Camping it up · DIY · Independence · Kids

Day 236: Can we measure that?

Never mind those stores that are already hawking Xmas stuff as if the holiday is tomorrow (even though we haven’t even hit Remembrance Day yet.) Summer camps (as in, open July and August) are already filling up for summer 2021, which has put me into a frenzy of camp decision making and planning.

I remember back in the olden days when January was the time to get serious about camp registration. That was what, five years ago? Six? Can’t we go back to that?

I thought I had made this decision last year. Of course, camp was cancelled last summer and our money refunded, but I had no reason to change our choice of camp… until R got involved. She’s been begging to go to the same camp as one of her friends. As it happens, it was not our top choice of camp last year. Now the decision has been opened up again.

Have I mentioned that I hate making decisions?

I went back to all of the camp websites and read them over. I created a spreadsheet. But kids don’t really know what to do with a spreadsheet; I needed a simple way to compare the kids’ values with what was offered at camp. Behold the solution:

Obviously I only picked the things that I thought might be different enough at various camps to matter. I didn’t bother asking the kids about food preferences, because they’re all going to be pretty much the same. Likewise, I didn’t include things like sports facilities, because my kids just don’t care that much about sports.

Each child was asked to circle their answers on the likert scale, with the far left unhappy face meaning “I don’t want that at all,” the middle meaning “Doesn’t matter to me,” and the far right, “I really really want this.” While they were circling their answers, I took one form for each camp and filled in the likert scale with black marker.

Now, the magic part. Look what happens when you put the kid’s form on top of the camp form and hold them up to a light source:

See how the camp’s answers show through? I can see how closely a child’s expectations align with what the camp has to offer: if a face is both shaded and circled, that item is a perfect match. Now I just have to compare each kids’ form with each of the four camps’ forms and see which camp is the best fit.

This is what marriage to an engineer has done to me. Where decisions like this used to paralyze me, I now have a method to help me solve them: measure first, then use the data. I still don’t like making decisions, but at least now I know how!

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