Most campers attending overnight camp feel some anxiety about being away from home. In fact, we believe that managing and overcoming homesickness is an integral part of the camp experience. Camp is the best place for young people to learn coping skills, gain independence and enhance their self-esteem. Adapting to camp life, with the help of a caring and attentive camp staff, is a challenge that helps young people develop those important life skills.
We have many years of experience helping children through homesickness and will specifically train our staff to assist campers in their transition to camp. We also recommend that parents take the following steps before camp to minimize their child’s anxiety:
TALK ABOUT WHAT TO EXPECT
Use the camp brochure, website and mailings to talk about what camp will be like. Go over the daily schedule, the bunk setup, camp activities and who your child can turn to when they need help at camp. In addition, we invite you and your camper to join us at camp in early June so that your camper can see his/her cabin, meet some of our staff, have lunch with our chef and meet some of his/her bunk-mates! (If this in-person Open House event is cancelled for COVID safety purposes, we will host a virtual orientation event instead!)
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!
Campers who have not spent significant time away from home should “practice” by having sleep-overs before camp. Extended family is great, but staying at a friend’s house is even better. Talk to your child afterwards to debrief the experience.
FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE
Parents who talk about how much they are going to miss their children actually create more anxiety and a heightened sense of homesickness. While it may be hard for you to see them go, remember that camp is a wonderful gift that you are giving your child, one that will help him/her grow and develop as a person, and have a GREAT time!
AVOID THIS MISTAKE!!
Whatever you do, please don’t tell your child: “If you don’t like it, I’ll come get you.” Promises like this set your child up for failure and make our job much more difficult. Most importantly, they deny your child the opportunity to develop the resilience, pride and sense of independence that come from working through something that is difficult.
LET US HELP
Campers can always email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions or concerns about coming to camp. The more comfortable they feel with us and our staff before arriving, the easier it will be for them to adjust to camp life.
Family Handbook Table of Contents
- About Akeela & About CampGroup
- Camper Travel and Visiting Day
- Packing List & Baggage Shipping Information
- Purchasing Camp Clothing, Prohibited Items & Laundry
- Communication: Mail, Phone Calls & Parent Communication
- Health Care: Medications, Health Communication, Medical Charges, Other Health Concerns
- Food, Health and Wellness
- Electronics Policy
- Homesickness Prevention
- Success at Akeela
- Camper Code of Conduct
- Additional Activities and Trips
- “Open House” Orientation Day
- Driving Directions
One of the reasons we have made this Handbook available on our website, rather than sending it by snail mail, is that we anticipate making changes to it as we approach the 2022 camp season. In particular, it currently contains some information that is specific to the summer of 2021, when COVID-19 greatly affected our policies, procedures and programs. Needless to say, much remains to be seen about the pandemic’s status come June 2022.