Bring it on!
Summer is right around the corner and summer camps give kids the chance to broaden horizons, learn resilient behaviors and further develop cognitive and social skills outside of the school year. However, there’s often a lot of time and anxiety that goes into preparing your child for overnight summer camp—especially if it’s their first time or maybe they haven’t been since the Pandemic. Here are some tips from us at Farm & Wilderness in Vermont to discuss before they leave:1. Talk about Drop off
The beginning of camp can be the hardest and it starts with the initial separation when parents say goodbye. Review all the camp information and step by step live the details as they will unfold, so when the day happens it seems like they have already been through the process – it’s familiar – no surprises.
2. DO NOT Give a Golden Ticket
It’s better not to succumb to temptation and say they can call you to come home. This notion will be in the back of their mind. Instead give them solid ideas to help past the initial jitters. Don’t hesitate to reach out to camp beforehand and for names of staff that can so they know who to ask for. Let them know how proud you will be of them when you hear about all their adventures and overcome adversities!
3. Normalize Homesick
Even the most veteran of campers gets homesick. It’s ok to feel sad and miss your family – it’s temporary and the staff are there to help you at any moment, ask them for advice, trust them to guide you – many of them have experienced the exact same homesickness. Homesickness can be contagious; understand your friends’ feelings but try not to let their longing impact your happiness.
4. Community Living
The concept of group living: sleeping, eating, playing, staying together is a fun way to connect and meet new friends different from school and sports. To respect, cooperate, trust with a sense of humor will help forge good relationships. Recognize that every family has different living habits and that’s ok. This new, strange dynamic will wear off in a couple of days and it’s exciting to go to sleep and wake up with friends.
This can be the most difficult hurdle to accept especially kids with food challenges or just picky eaters. Many times, homesickness really comes out without the comfort of home cooked meals. No need to tell kids to ‘try new things’ this can create more pressure. It may take a day or two to figure out the best things to eat and you may need to compromise but you won’t be hungry. It’s ok to ask for a request – especially if it’s going to make you feel better. When they come home if there is anything they discovered we can figure out how to make it together.
Farm & Wilderness has 80 years’ experience with overnight campers – many of them generational. The camps are nestled on 4,800 secluded acres in Vermont and each feature a unique program but all share a common theme for all youth; creating an environment and living in a community with one another to explore a life that is simple, rugged and exciting!