Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Homesick At Camp

Yesterday's post mentioned a few reasons that summer camp is the best thing ever. I still believe wholeheartedly that is the truth. There are some things to consider though and be prepared for especially if you are sending your child to an overnight/resident camp. 

One very important thing is homesickness. After talking to a co-worker about our experiences in summer camp and Girl Scouts we both laughed at how silly it was that we got so terribly homesick while away. One particular moment I was rehashing was a trip to Michigan I took when I was twelve years old.  I was having a wonderful time, making new friends and trying new things, but I missed my mama something fierce. I had been to sleepovers and such, but had never been away for more than a few days and here I was 1,200 or more miles from home and phone calls were definitely discouraged. About halfway through the first week I was faced with the very real and non - diminishing fear that I was NEVER going to get home to see my family.

Of course, looking back I see that is nonsense, but at the time I was certain that would be my fate. My mom had complete faith in me and never once mentioned that it might be hard for me to be away that long. Honestly, I am glad she did. Looking back I probably would have second guessed myself if she had given me the chance. The good news is it definitely made me stronger and now I can laugh at how scary it was at the time, but I persevered and gained a love of travelling that is still strong in me today. By the end of the week I was back to having fun and so glad that my parents didn’t give in to my request to be rescued immediately.

I do think it is important to be prepared in case it happens to your child though. Most of the camps Girl Scouts offer are only one week so it is probably not a problem. Here are a few pointers from someone who’s been there to ease some of the anxiety for longer stays away.

·         Believe in them. Just like my mom did for me, she knew I could do it even when I didn’t know. Extended trips away may seem daunting, but it is how we learn to be independent and grow.
·         Send them with something familiar from home if you can (photos, favorite blanket or pillow, snacks specific to home).
·         Write to your child if camp allows it. Most camps do and also discourage phone calls so, that is often the only form of communication. Remind her of all the mundane things that are happening and home and that what she is doing has got to be more exciting.
·         Have siblings write to her. Although she may miss them just seeing their words in writing may remind how happy she was to be getting away from them. 
·         Don’t give in to pleas for rescue. These are typically written in the heat of the moment and then regretted. More than likely if there is a family fun day (visitation day) you will discover that she is in fact having the time of her life.
Happy Camping!                                                                                                                               -Erin

Monday, May 21, 2012

Why Should I Send My Child To Camp?

Summer is fast approaching and things are getting ready to heat up. Most of the schools only have a week or two left. Then what? 
Well, one option is the classic notion of sending the kids to camp. There are many options for summer camps now. You can choose day or overnight, activity specific (soccer, theater, music, etc), or group specific. The options are there you just need to pick which one(s) best suit the needs and desires of your child. 
I attended camp every summer for more than twelve years. I had the best time! Every year it would come I would hardly sleep a wink the night before and the morning of I was the first to rise. The friends I made at camp, I will never forget. The skills I learned I still use often. The fun I had…well enough about me. You are probably wondering-Still need convincing that camp could be the quickest route to summer bliss. Why should you send your child to camp? I can name a few reasons, though in my opinion there are a million more.
·         They will make new friends- Kids will expand their social circle by meeting new faces, often times the only people they see are family or school friends and camp is the perfect opportunity to meet new people.
·         They will gain independence- Kids learn that they can do things on their own, they learn to cope with being away from mom and dad, they are forced to step out of their comfort zone to try new things and make new friends.
·         Skill building – Among confidence, cooperation, respect for self and others, and decision making, skills can range from outdoor education and fire building, to hiking and learning about nature, swimming, canoeing, archery, crafts and so much more. They will always have the skills once learned and it is most likely something they would never have gotten the chance to do otherwise.
·         They stay physically active- Camp provides opportunities to reconnect with nature. They can hike through the woods, play a game of volleyball, go canoeing or swimming and participate in other activities that require physical activity.

Want to learn more about how a Girl Scout camp can benefit your daughter?  Check it out!

Happy Camping!