With summer right around the corner, we have prepared not one but TWO newsletters for our camp community:
These newsletters contain a lot of important and exciting information about this coming summer, including:
- What’s New At Akeela This Summmer: new ropes course elements, an amazing inflatable in the lake and pickleball!
- Where Campers Come From: a cool look at how many states (and countries) are represented by our 2023 campers.
- Head Counselors: what is their role and camp and who are the 2023 head counselors?
- Camp Nurses: Meet Pam and Chuck, our wonderful health care team
- Camper To Do List: A few things campers can do between now and arrival to get ready for the best summer of their lives!
- What To Expect On The First Day: A detailed breakdown of what that camp arrival day will be like
The parent newsletter also begins with the following thoughts from Debbie:
Both of our daughters (ages 14 and 9) will be away at their camp this summer for 7 weeks. I’m a camp director and we’re very friendly with the camp directors who run their camp. I “shouldn’t” be nervous, right? But I am! I am a worrier and I worry most about my family – so when I allow myself to get caught up in thinking about the “what-ifs”, it can get pretty messy and then my anxiety is obvious to my kids.
I know that my most important task right now is to help instill a sense of confidence in my children before they are at camp on their own. In order to do that I also need to prepare myself, and that takes time and energy – a positive energy. Pushing through our own fears and worries needs to be a priority so we can meet our children with a “clean slate”. They need to feel our optimism and confidence that going to camp will be a life-changing experience – one that will enable them to become more independent and confident, and will hopefully open them up to meaningful friendships that will last a long time. Our children are intuitive and if they sense that we’re afraid about this very big transition, they will take on that worry themselves.
Some things that I’ve found helpful, and some advice for those of you who are worried and anxious about camp this summer:
- Write it down! Take some time during the day (not right before bed or you’ll never be able to fall asleep!) to jot down anything that’s making you feel anxious. Writing your worries down will allow you to acknowledge them and either use your notes to address the concern, or let it go.
- This includes making lists – what do you need to do? Have you completed your forms? Sent in the RX from the pediatrician? Looked at the packing list to assess what you might need? And have you gone through last year’s “camp stuff” to see what still fits?
- Call us! If you’re concerned about something, maybe we can help. Sometimes, more information is helpful in minimizing our fears.
- Breathe! Go for a walk or take 10 minutes with a cup of tea to just relax. How often do you allow yourself to take time for just yourself? It’s important and it’s helpful.
- Read “Homesick and Happy” by Michael Thompson. This is a great book, especially for first-time camp parents. It’s filled with helpful information, plus – reading will help you take your mind off of your own worries.
By the way, this is great advice for your anxious camper, too! Once you are feeling confident about having your camper with us at camp, take some time to sit down with them to make a list of their “things to do” before camp. Maybe there’s one task you can do together each week to prepare, for example: address envelopes for letters to family/friends, email Debbie/Eric/Erin a few questions, make a list of books/card games/crafts you want to bring to camp, etc.
You may also want to help your camper make a list or start a journal with things they’re looking forward to doing at camp. Do they have a goal in mind? Something new they want to try or something they want to accomplish? It’s also a great time to start pushing your camper to be more independent in anticipation of being on their own this summer. Are younger campers getting ready for bed and school independently? (Showering, brushing their teeth, putting away their clothes …) Are older campers thinking about non-electronic tasks they can do during down times this summer? Having your camper think about these things NOW will help them feel more prepared as summer approaches.
Finally, as I’ve written about this year on a few different occasions, it’s important to use language that acknowledges a child’s worries but also expresses confidence. Statements like, “I know you’re worried about going to camp AND I’m really certain that you can do this.” These types of statements are the loving push our campers need to feel more secure in this transition.
We’re very excited to see your child up at camp in a very short time – sooner if you’ll be joining us for our Open House in June! Your camper’s head counselor will be emailing you in mid-June to introduce themselves to you and they’ll want to know if there’s anything on your mind. Feel free to start a list now that you can email or call once our team is all up in Vermont. Enjoy your Spring and we’ll see you soon!
Again, you can read the entire newsletters here: