It’s March, you’re signed up for camp, you’ve completed your camper packet and now you are waiting for the big trip to the mountains. But there may be something else that has happened, you’ve started to have doubts. Fret not – you’re in great company – this happens to almost everyone! So here are five things you can do to help everyone be more comfortable.
- Take a vacation. Camps are in beautiful places, so take a family trip to visit your camp. You meet a camp director and you think he’s great (because we all are!). But then you go home and start to doubt your first impressions. So come back and meet him again. It will also give your camper a sneak peek at their cabin
- Demythologize homesickness. We’re all homesick sometimes; haven’t you ever missed home while you were on vacation? One of the best parts of growing up is loving a group so much that you are willing to miss home a little to enjoy being with them. That’s what happened when you went to college, that’s what happened when you got married, and that’s what happens at a great camp. One of the hardest parts of homesickness is being afraid you will be homesick. Go ahead and remove that by telling your camper that it’s okay to miss home.
- Make a friend. Call the director and ask if you can connect with a few campers in your child’s cabin. We also like to have our counselors contact first year campers so campers will have someone to look out for when they arrive.
- Remember the big secret. Parents are every bit as nervous as their campers. Don’t let your camper know this, but do let the Camp Director know because we’re parents too. We get it, and we can tell you what worked when we sent our children to camp.
- And remember the other secret. Returning campers get nervous too. They start to worry that camp will not be as magical this year, or that their friends won’t be as welcoming as they remember. I think it is because they have been in school all year. But camp never changes – it’s always magical.
Here’s the best news of the day: the more nervous a camper is the more they will grow at camp. The more you invest the larger the reward, and the more nervous you are the more proud you will be when camp ends up being the best decision you ever made. That’s the way kids become curious; that’s they way they develop a sense of adventure.