Adventures in Camp Prep!
Episode 5: Homesickness
They told us to expect crying when the bus took off for camp, to expect letters about missing family and complaints about wanting things to go back to normal…
But we thought all that would be coming from the campers– not the parents! Be strong, moms and dads – we’ll get through this together!
In all seriousness, it’s completely normal for homesickness to happen to kids of all ages—being in a new living environment for three whole weeks is a pretty big change. But don’t worry! Even the most serious cases are almost always gone by the third day of camp.
It’s easy to see why. Considering how full our schedule is and how much time they get with their peers, friendships develop far faster at camp than in the normal world. And with our talented staff trained in developing positive bunk dynamics, even the most tentative first-timers find their comfort zone at CYJ.
We also have our Camper Care team for extra support, a special team made up of super moms! They don’t exactly leap over tall buildings, but they’re pretty extraordinary when it comes to listening to campers with warmth and understanding.
Our counselors have a lot of tricks up their sleeve for addressing homesickness at Camp, and now you can be a partner in that effort! Here are some things you can do before your camper leaves to prevent homesickness before it even becomes an issue:
- Help your child practice independence; make sure he or she has a sleepover with a friend once or twice before Camp.
- Talk to your child about Camp and what their “bedroom” and “dining room” will be like.
- Send a letter or package ahead of time so there’s something from you waiting for them on the first day of camp.
- “I know you will have a fun, terrific time at Camp” and “We are so proud of you for going to camp on your own” is better than “We will miss you.”
- Pack personal items from home – like a favorite stuffed animal or a family picture.
- Don’t bribe your child to enjoy camp; the real reward will be your child’s newfound confidence, independence, and best friends.
- Discuss with your children to trust and confide in their counselors or another camp staff member to help them with any needs. It is crucial for them to know that they have someone at Camp with their best interest at heart.
If you receive a homesick letter, don’t panic! Mail is slow in Wimberley, so that letter is probably 4 days old. By the time you’re reading it, your child has probably joined the rest of the happy campers.
You’re also welcome to call and check in with us whenever you like—our Camper Care Team is there to help! They will be available by email or phone during the summer with any questions or concerns you may have.
Now, as far as your camper-sickness goes… we suggest meeting a friend for coffee, see some movies, write lots of letters to your camper, and relax. Before you know it, you’ll be greeting your returning camper with a big smile and a warm hug, and they’ll be telling you all about their successes this summer at CYJ!
Until next time!
P.S. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 713-723-8354or [email protected].