Participation Ribbons, School Camp and Banning Cartwheels

My son’s permission slip for camp is glaring at me from a pile of ‘things that I can do to avoid boring but necessary writing jobs’.

And while my daughter has been on many ‘away’ camps, the thought of my 8-year-old going away with his classmates for an overnight camp at hour away now seems totally ridiculous.

How can schools not allow kids to do cartwheels or hand stands – for fear they’ll hurt themselves – yet happily ship off little ones to a camp where worse things can happen?

Maybe I was so flippant about letting my daughter go when she was 8 because at that stage of my life I was parenting feisty boys aged 4 and 6. Maybe she seemed more mature, or maybe I thought she was well equipped for it?

In fairness to our school they have been preparing our kids from a young age, with sleep-at-school events starting in Prep (well now it’s Year 1). I should know, I’m been at all of them helping out in my children’s classrooms overnight.

Gah, what a shocker. Most parents love it as means it’s a night off for them while their kids stay at school and the suckers that offer to parent-help (me) tend to their every need. Many see it as free babysitting.

So the overnight camps in Year 3 aren’t an absolute shock, but still. It seems in contradiction to some of the things that happen at schools.

For example, the kids who are dropped off from 8am at our school must sit down in a supervised covered area for 30 minutes until the bell goes to release them at 8.30am.

Yes that’s right, SIT DOWN, there’s to be no running on the oval to release all that energy before class starts. Absolutely mental I believe.

Yes yes red tape and all that and responsibility and someone might get hurt etc – but really?

And don’t even get me started on the yellow ribbon for ‘participation’ – my kids know to bin these the second they get them.

kids sports participation ribbons

Why do I hate them so? Because kids shouldn’t be rewarded just for turning up. I want my kids to try to win and when they don’t I want them to lose with grace. Not get a ribbon for taking part.

Imagine the sense of entitlement they will feel as they grow up. I do wonder if we haven’t gone a little over the top in regards to not letting anyone feel left out.

Those kids who get the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place (only 1 out of my 3 kids has ever placed) have earned those fair and square, and dishing out ribbons to everyone lessons their win a little.

When a smart kid gets an award for academic excellent, every other kids doesn’t get a consolation certificate and nor should they.

As for camp and my 8yo, of course I’ll let him go, I mean how could I rob him of the experience when I freely sent off my oldest. But every time I look at the form I just think – wow – 8 is young to be sent on an away camp – right?

And at $75 it sure isn’t a cheap experience.

Then again it will mean a quieter household that night because every parent with 3+ kids knows that removing one (it doesn’t matter which one) from the equation makes an astounding difference to the amount of fighting that happens.

Still, I wonder if other schools send their kids away on camp at such a young age?

Do you? When do your kids go away for their first overnight camp?

What silly rules are there at your school? Are cartwheels banned at your school also?

What about those yellow ribbons? Is it a Queensland public school only thing?


  1. I also tell kids to throw away participation ribbons. What a load of nonsense!

  2. The world has gone completely mad Em, COMPLETELY mad I tell you. ????????

  3. OccupantonEarth says

    Sadly, it is what it is these days. Just like back home where we are to serve the army from age 18 onward…we are trained to use rifles, grenades and what not to prepare to kill ‘enemies’ if/when that day ever comes to defend the homeland…but then we are restricted to watch adult-themed movies/shows and can only do so after 21! Oh yeah don’t forget the chewing gum ban…that’s more harmful than bullets!! Makes absolute “sense”. LOL

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