a shameless plug | by +Elaine

so, you know how I’m not busy enough? when I’m not in photographer, wife, or mother mode (or in any of the various sub-modes), I sometimes run a summer camp for 4-to-8 year olds at our tae kwon do school, Atlanta’s United Tae Kwon Do (ATLU). backstory: my husband and I opened the school right about the time our third son was born, over 6 years ago. (see? not busy enough.) at the time I was running a parent’s morning out program for infants to pre-k’s, and four summer camps each summer for over twenty 4-to-6 year olds. so fast forward to present day, it totally makes sense to combine our wondertwin powers. the result? Camp ATLU.

it’s not all tae kwon do. it’s art, food, community. more backstory: my husband, in one of his past incarnations, was a flight paramedic. so it’s important to us to have the kids meet and appreciate the local EMS (emergency medical services). thus, “community.” these are people who put themselves into situations that normal folk are trying to get away from. thank them. we were lucky enough to have two police cruisers, an ambulance, and a ladder firetruck (“the quint”) come by on different days for the kids to touch and climb. sirens and horns and buttons galore. just big ol’ expensive playgrounds on wheels. the kids weren’t the only ones excited and having a good time.


then there’s the tae kwon do. we take these kids, a majority of whom have never taken a tkd class before, and have them put on a demonstration by the end of the week. they learn about the 5 Tenets of Taekwondo: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit. they learn coordination and confidence. and to use their powers for good. all important stuff. plus breaking boards is just cool.

I’ve got to say, I don’t for a second regret leaving the parent’s morning out to pursue my photography, but there’s something so wonderful being with the kids again. some of them unwilling to disengage from their parents that first day, then having them not want to leave me to go home on the last day. hugs and excitement and wonder and joy. drama and bickering. kid colors and messes and new experiences. children who actually listen to me and do what I say (unlike my own). how can you not love that?

I’ll tell you something, though. I think I slept for 2 days straight after it was done.