2018 Overnight Pre-Session Email: 2 Weeks Out
We look forward to seeing your child in two weeks!
In This Post:
- Payment/forms reminders
- Adjustments your child may experience
- Notes on homesickness
Full payment for camp was due June 1 unless alternate arrangements were made with our registration team. Similarly, all camp forms were due June 1 unless alternate arrangements were made with our registration team.
We pride ourselves on our flexibility and ability to accommodate our families – your partnership makes this possible.
Adjustments Your Child May Experience
Beginning of Session
The small camp group is just starting to get to know each other. For first time campers, everything about Trail Blazers is new. For returners, a lot of familiarity is countered by being with a brand new group of campers and staff.
During the first few days, your child:
- Might worry about family and friends, and may miss the comforts of home
- Will be adjusting to living in the woods and sleeping outdoors
- Might feel unsure of their place in the group
- Might be overwhelmed, may want to go home
The letters your child writes during the first few days may express these emotions. Children often write home when they miss you the most, so you may not always hear about the good parts of their day. If you have any questions or concerns, you can call us.
Middle of Session
The small camp group is settling into some routines, and connections are forming quickly – this tends to happen when you are living with the same group of people in the same space!
Mid-session, your child:
- Will begin to find their place in the group and establish friendships
- Is becoming more involved in activities and falling into a routine with Trail Blazers
- Will generally not be as homesick, and homesick letters will become less frequent
End of Session
When the end of camp is around the corner, your child:
- Feels a sense of ownership at Trail Blazers and within the small camp group
- Is part of a small camp group that has formed a group identity
- Has a mix of feelings about going home, including feeling sad about the end of the camp and leaving new friends
- Feels a sense of accomplishment from living in the woods for all of this time!
Notes on Homesickness
We expect that every child (and many staff members!) will experience homesickness at some point during the summer. A big part of what makes camp such a valuable experience is confronting challenges in a safe environment where you are supported through overcoming them on your own. These challenges range from the more overt examples, such as riding a bike up a mountain trail, to facing feelings of homesickness.
What We Do
Trail Blazers is designed around the small group experience in order to foster meaningful relationships that become the foundation of our program. Your child’s group leaders will begin to get to know your camper as an individual from the moment they arrive.
Some times of the day lend themselves to feelings of homesickness more than others – meals, downtime when campers are resting or reading, and bedtime are the three big ones. We will always be on the lookout for campers who are missing home so we can help them work through these feelings.
To ease homesickness, we:
- Let children talk about their feelings and listen with compassion and empathy
- Allow plenty of time to write letters home
- Help children focus on fun activities
- Encourage children to think about one day at a time
- Focus on teambuilding within the small camp groups to create strong and supportive communities
- Contact families to inform them, and reassure the child that the family is safe
What You Can Do
Learn about Trail Blazers Together
Looking at camp photos and reading through the overnight camp website with your child is a great way to ensure that your camper is prepared for the summer adventure that lies ahead. Focus on the positive, and talk about the exciting things your child will be doing.
Face homesickness head on
New and returning campers alike can experience feelings of homesickness. Ask your child if she thinks she might get homesick while at camp, and talk through strategies she can try.
- Let her know that there are always adults on camp who can help her – not only her group leaders, but also program leaders, lifeguards, cooks, directors, and many others.
- Pack something special from home that your child can use if he misses home, such as a stuffed animal, book, or photos of family.
- Send her with pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes for letters home. (We’ll always have more on hand if she runs out, and we insist that each camper mail at least one letter while they are at camp!)
- If your child has been to camp before, talk about what he has done to manage feelings of homesickness in the past.
Practice sleeping away
If this is your child’s first overnight camp adventure, have him sleep over at the house of a friend or relative so that camp is not his first time away.
Express confidence in your child
Going to camp is a big deal – what a brave and strong kid you have! Let him know you are proud of him, and that you believe in his ability to make friends, try new things, and have fun.
Prevent your anxiety from influencing your child
It’s super normal for parents who feel nervous or sad about their child going to camp. It’s much more productive to share these feelings with a partner or friend and not your camper, so she isn’t worried about you being lonely without her. Tell her you want her to have fun, and really mean it!
Make your own commitment to their camp session
It’s very important to us that you feel confident in your choice to send your child to Trail Blazers. We want you to have all of your camp questions answered before the summer, so that you feel confident that your child will be in a safe and supportive environment where he overcome the challenges that he will face.
Please do not tell your child that you will pick him up early if he is homesick. Rather than communicate confidence, this communicates that you do not expect that he will have a good time. We recognize the difficulties of spending time away from home, but also fully believe in the benefits of staying for the full length of the program. Each child is an integral part of their group: removing your child from camp early not only affects his or her experience and opportunities, but also those of their group members.
Plan to write letters
Keep letters positive and encouraging, remembering all of the points above. (Tip: you can even put a letter in the mail this week so that it’s waiting for your child at camp.)
Use the following address:
Your Camper’s Name
210 Deckertown Turnpike
Montague NJ 07827
In Next Week’s Email:
- Payment/forms reminders
- Communication during camp
- Arrival day confirmation
We know that sending your child to camp is a big decision, and we are so happy that you have chosen Trail Blazers. We look forward to having your child on camp with us in two weeks! You’ll hear from us again when there is one week to go!
Please call our office if you have any questions – 212.529-5113 ext 1.
Or you can email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for choosing Trail Blazers!
The Trail Blazers Team