This summer my daughter tried out three different day camps. She learned drama, tennis, soccer, modern dance, musical theater, double dutch and how to make a lanyard.
What do all these things have in common?
All the skills she learned are rather useless.
Next year I'm going to look for a camp with greater future returns. Plumbing camp or carpentry camp. Even tile work or junior grouters.
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Lately I've been thinking about how much time American kids spend on frivolous pursuits. Like sports. Sports are not cheap. Between the classes, equipment, and the entry fees (and later travel fees) to the various competitions, things can really add up. And this is before specialty camps, specialty coaching, physical therapists, and snacks.
At the end of the elusive, sweat scented rainbow there may be a college scholarship. But, chances are there won't be any money. From what I've read approximately 1-2% of high school varsity athletes will get money to play in college.
It's close to 100% guaranteed a plumber will get $250 to fix the smallest of problems.
The cost of plumbing work only goes up from there.
With her learned trade, in junior high school, she can start earning money to pay for college. Kids who do sports seriously put in about 8 hours a week on the sport they (or their parents) love. My daughter at her plumbing job will have raked in about $2000 in that same amount of time. When she's ready for college, there will be a nice nest egg to pave the way, and a trade to take her the rest of the way.
She won't miss out on the good things. I'll get her a nice tool bag with her name embroidered on the side.
Other kids. They'll have ACL injuries and a regiment's worth full of plastic trophies to dust.