For many campers, camp is one of the first places they stay overnight without adults from their family or very familiar friends. It can be a jarring, liberating, intimidating, and exciting experience all wrapped into one, and every camper deals with it differently.
It may seem backward at first, but we do our best to protect that separation from home, as part of the camp experience. We love that camp is a safe place, with caring adult supervision, for campers to venture out and find self-reliance.
Of course, we want parents to know about everything kids experience at camp. Throughout each camp week we regularly post pictures online (in private accounts to which parents are given access info during camp check-in) and have e-scans (essentially an electronic letter home, your camper writes it by hand and we scan it and email it to you) available to purchase, if you’d like your camper to write home during the week. And we’re counting on your camper having exactly 1 million stories to tell you when you pick them up!
For many campers, being away from home is no big deal; many others feel fine initially but experience some homesickness as their time at camp progresses. For some campers, being away from home can be a stressful and intimidating experience, leading to homesickness.
We do our best to deal with each case of homesickness individually, but we do have a common goal for every homesick camper: for them to make it through their entire camp program. And we do our best to show them that they have the strength to do it on their own. That’s why our first step with homesick campers is almost never to have them call home. Our staff empathizes with homesick campers while encouraging them to find more things they like about camp, and work through their feelings so they can grow. More often than not, it works and campers learn a lot about themselves.
If your camper is experiencing extreme homesickness, we’ll give you a call. You know your child best, and, of course, you’re ultimately in charge of what happens with him or her. But even in those extreme cases, it’s usually our goal to simply keep you in the loop. We are well-equipped for the sometimes hard work campers have to do to feel comfortable away from home.
No matter where a camper falls on the “comfortable at camp” spectrum, we love the opportunity to help them grow in a new environment with new experiences. It’s well proven that experiences at camp are excellent preparation for venturing out into the real world. We see it as a huge privilege you chose us to help your camper learn those lessons and grow in independence at camp!
Blog series by Brad Hutchison.
Covenant Harbor is accredited by ACA (American Camp Association) and a member of the CCCA (Christian Camp and Conference Association) organization.