Preparing Your Son for Camp
You can do much to prepare your son for going away to camp, especially if it is his first camp experience. Talking honestly with your son about what to expect can ease the transition from home to camp. Many boys expect camp to be fun all the time. While your son should expect to a great time while he is here, you can tell him that he will at times experience many different emotions: elation at discovering new friends, fear of confronting a new situation, disappointment when a game or project hasn’t gone well, and even sadness leaving friends at the end of a session.
Homesickness may occur, especially if your son is young or living away for the first time. Homesickness is neither a dislike for camp nor is it indicative of camper maladjustment. It is normal. Discussing this with your son and letting him know that this is a common feeling will make it easier to deal with should it occur. If it does, the most appropriate action is to let your son stay at camp, except in very unusual cases. Our camp staff members are trained to work with homesick campers and within a day or two most boys have completely recovered. If you receive a letter that is less than positive at the beginning of camp, don’t worry too much – homesickness has often been resolved by the time the letter reaches home. Please do not make bargains with your son by telling him he can come home if he does not like camp, or that he only has to stay a week and you will come to get him. We have found that this sets campers up for failure as they never commit to giving camp a chance. Focus on the positive and know we are here to make camp a successful experience! One of our owners, Hank Birdsong published an article on homesickness.
In letters to your camper, it may be helpful to ask about experiences at camp rather than to dwell on happenings at home. Try to put your own feelings of separation into proper perspective, and then write your son an encouraging response. Express your confidence in your son’s ability to cope and that the staff is there to help. It is usually a good idea to avoid referencing how much you will miss your son and it helps if parents avoid talking about what they will be doing while their son is away. If you receive a letter that is cause for concern, don’t hesitate to notify us by phone. Please refer to our Communications Page on how mail is done at camp for more information on communicating with your son while he is at here.