[Warning from Susie Ma’am: this is one of Steve Sir’s longer article, but I think it is one that you will appreciate. We parents are looking for ways to prepare our children for success in the future. This article discusses the skills fostered at camp and their importance to the real world. Steve did a 10 minute TEDx talk on this subject that you might want to share with friends and family that wonder how camp can help your child. Here is the link:
[This is the first in two articles about homesickness at camp. It is also a parent favorite.]
Forty-five summers ago (wow, that sounds like a long time), my mother got a letter in the mail from me on the Thursday after I had come to camp for the first time. Though only 8 years old, I had a flare for the dramatic:
When we first bought Camp Champions before the summer 1996, the camp had an orientation like the vast majority of camps back then. In fact, it was more of a “work session to prepare camp for opening” than an orientation. The counselors would arrive 3 days before camp, get trained in CPR, learn the camp rules and then perform physical tasks like painting and mowing.
Below is an article I share with our families each summer. I have also included a video that we made a few summers ago that talks about being tech-free at camp. I hope you enjoy both!
We wait each year for this day: the smiles, the hugs, the laughter and the opportunities for growth!
We have had our two-week orientation and we cannot wait for the first campers to arrive. But we know that this is YOUR session at camp and we cannot wait to share our excitement and love with your campers.
I am delighted to say that this was unquestionably the best group of counselors I have ever had the pleasure of working with. During orientation, they were focused, attentive and enthusiastic. We have a record number of international counselors who provide a fun, different perspective to camp (over 20 from the UK alone). This group has been in sync for the past 2 weeks and are ready to practice everything that they have learned. They are deeply committed to our mission of helping children find their inner champions. They understand the importance of safety as a foundation to fun and growth.
They also know that they are not just serving campers, but they serve entire families.
Susie Ma’am and I are both so excited to be working with this group.
After you dropped off your children, we had swim tests and tours. The campers came together to write the rules for their cabin. We believe that campers behave best when they believe their voices are valued and they collaborate.
We just finished our first torchlight ceremony (I will explain this more in a later blog). The picture I share shows campers walking with their cabins to torchlight. We sang some songs, saw a skit featuring Susie Ma’am and enjoyed a short fireworks display. We took time to assure our new campers that the odd traditions and songs will soon become familiar and loved. I also stressed that we are all delighted to have them join our camp community. We love watching our returning campers reach out to their new friends and cabinmates. As my mom used to say, all campers have one thing in common on Opening Day – they all want to make new friends.
Now, your children are in their cabins. They are enjoying their first “nightly ritual” – a time for reflection, conversation and sharing. We started this tradition 4 years ago. Since creating it, we have found that cabins are more cohesive and happier with each other. They cultivate respect and gratitude.
The evening is cool with a slight breeze. The stars are winking at us. Simply stated, it is lovely.
Tonight, your children will sleep with their new friends and counselors. Tomorrow, we will wake at 7:30 and embrace our first full day of activities. It will be a full one, so we need to make sure that we all get a full night’s sleep.
Susie Ma’am and I have had the joyous pleasure to do this for 23 years. We look forward to a full night’s rest as well. After all, we need to keep up with a camp full of energetic campers!
I hope you enjoy this website. Enjoy the photos and take time to read the articles. We will provide you a nice one-way mirror into the life of camp. Some of these articles are new, but many are tried-and-true favorites. If you are a returning parent, please do not think we are getting lazy. Instead, we want to give our new families a chance to see what we value and what we are striving to accomplish at camp.
Until we see you at closing day – have a wonderful few weeks!
When you are growing up – or indeed, at any time in your life – one of the worst things imaginable is the idea of being alone.
Summer camp is all about people: the staff, the campers, the parents, and more. So the best way to learn about various summer camps is to talk to people with experience at a given camp. If you know someone who’s attended camp, great! Chat with them and their kids about it. If not, try reaching out to camps via phone or email. Finally, you can also look up online, third-party reviews. Reviewers are people who vouch for the summer camp's reputation, and can give an honest account of their relationship with the camp and the experience that their children had there.