With departure day on the horizon, we start to think about what it looks like and feels like for our camper’s and staff to transition out of the camp bubble and into the real world. For some campers, they walk off the bus or out of their cars and right back into the swing of things. For most, the transition has its ups and downs.
During their summer at Watitoh, they have learned exciting new skills, built amazing friendships, created wonderful memories and stepped outside of their comfort zone to try new things. They are all standing a little taller, both in height and confidence, and displaying an incredible amount of growth. They will be happy to be home, in the comfort of their own rooms, with their parents, siblings, pets, and extended family. At the same time, they will be conflicted with missing camp, their counselors, friends, and the overall environment they have been living in for many weeks. All of this makes sense and is to be expected. The biggest challenge that campers and parents face is balancing the happiness of being at home and the sadness of being away from camp.
They are happy, healthy, and looking forward to reuniting with you tomorrow. Below is an article that was published by a friend of ours, Jessica Michaels, of the American Camp Association about how to help your camper’s adjust to re-entry. At the bottom of the email, there are two links to other articles that have been shared with us as well. We recommend reading them before arrival home so that you are prepared for the many mixed emotions your camper(s) may be presenting throughout the next few days.
Enjoy those first embraces, listen to the stories, monitor their technology time since they have survived without it for months, give them space, let them sing, and give yourself some of the credit for giving them the beautiful gift of camp.
We are so grateful for having the opportunity to spend our summer with each and every one of our campers and staff and thank you for choosing us to share in this chapter in their lives. We look forward to seeing all of you at the winter reunion in New York and the many regional get-togethers throughout the winter.
Easing Back into Home Life After Camp
August 3, 2016
How do you ease your child back into home life after they’ve been basking in the heavenly independence of camp for so long over the summer? Sleepaway camp is an integral part of so many childrens’ lives, so Jess Michaels at the American Camp Association is here to give us five tips to help the transition from camp to home.
As the end of sleepaway camp nears, don’t be surprised if your child has no interest in coming home. Don’t take it personally. Summer camp is your child’s home away from home –a place where strong friendships have been built and camp rituals are enjoyed daily. Here are just a few tips to help your child transition back to home after an awesome summer at sleepaway camp.
- Give your child some space – Remember, your child has been away from you for a few weeks now.He has gained independence and has been making decisions without your input. Let your child practice this new found independence and allow for some more choice at home.
- Down time – Your child may come home from camp and just want to relax. After all, your child has been busy with amazing camp activities from 8 am – 9:30 PM every day for weeks! Try not to schedule too much for your child the first few days he or she is home. Let your child adjust to home life and just chill out for a bit before getting back into other activities.
- Talk about camp – Your child is used to living and breathing camp 24/7. Let your child continue to talk about camp at home. Ask questions about the experience and get a bit more information other than the four line letter home you received!
- Put a date on the calendar – Schedule a get together with your child’s bunk for early fall. Your son or daughter will be missing his or her camp friends so having something on the calendar to look forward to will help. Remember to invite everyone—leaving a few children out creates hurt feelings and tension among the group.
- Spend time together – With just a few weeks left until school begins, plan some fun outings as a family. After all, your child has been away for a number of weeks and you missed him! Spend time doing things you enjoy together.
Jess Michaels is the Director of Communications for the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of the summer camp experience. American Camp Association Accreditation is a parents’ best evidence of a camp’s commitment to a safe and nurturing environment for their child.