Countdown to camp: 189 days! I think winter should be over now.
Despite your child’s excitement and anticipation for summer camp, you should brace yourself for the onslaught of homesickness blues a few days (or even hours) after summer camp commences. According to experts, homesickness is normal and that this feeling affects roughly around 95% of campers — young and old alike.
What parents should remember is that even as summer camps offer tremendous adventure and fun activities, kids — especially first-timers — are still likely to miss their homes and parents. This separation anxiety is actually developmentally appropriate and is proof for parents that their children do want them around him/her.
And while homesickness is inevitable for most kids, parents can help prevent strong feelings of homesickness. Here are some ways to help your kids prepare for and/or cope from that away-from-home blues.
Do not force your kids to attend camp. While attending camp helps develop a child’s personality, forcing your kids to attend camp when he is not ready will only strengthen that feeling of homesickness.
Talk openly about homesickness. This step is especially helpful for parents whose kids are attending camp for the very first time. Talk openly about your child’s concerns and try to find out what his various concerns are. Once you’ve identified his concerns, reassure your child that camp is a great opportunity to learn new things, create new friendships and develop new skills. Highlight the advantages and all the fun things your child will experience. Assure him that he will have a nice time at camp and that your communication lines will remain open despite the distance.
Practice time away from home. Weeks or days before the start of camp, parents can arrange a new practice visits to a friend’s or relatives’ house over the weekend or even just for the night. This way, your child will get a sense of how it feels like to be away from home and hopefully learn to find ways to cope with being on his own — even if it is only for a couple of hours. When the child is finally home, you can sit down with him and discuss how it felt to be away from home and what they can both do to help make the separation easier to bear for both the parent and the child.
Let him talk to friends who have prior camp experience. One of the reasons why kids feel homesick — especially for first timers — is they have no idea what to expect in camp. Allowing him to talk to other kids who have been in similar camps can help lessen your child’s anxieties.
Simulate the camp experience with your child. Try to do some role-playing and outdoor activities similar to those done at camp so your child can have an overview of what to expect. You can also make the role-playing a bit more fun by setting up a cabin-like atmosphere at home or by using flashlights to get ready for bed.
Practice some coping strategies such as writing a letter home, talking to their counselor or sibling or friend, reminding themselves of all the exciting things they were looking forward to doing at camp.
Avoid making pick-up deals with your child. As parents, we usually fall into the trap of assuring our kids that if they feel homesick we can always go and pick them up. Experts believe that this does not help prevent homesickness in any way. In fact, doing so will send a very negative message to your child. It is like saying to your child that homesickness is something he probably won’t be able to deal with. What parents can do is find ways to help your kids overcome this strong feeling of homesickness. Nurture their ability to cope and never undermine your kid’s growing independence.
For those who have had the opportunity to travel to or through the Adirondack Mountain region in upstate New York, you might have reveled at these, some of the most picturesque and naturally beautiful areas in the United States.
With majestic mountains, rolling woodlands, and crystal clear lakes on display, the scenery in this part of the country is certainly breathtaking. At around 6 million acres, the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve is the largest park in the country outside of Alaska.
Many thousands of hikers and campers head to the Adirondack wilderness each year. The Adirondack Mountains and surrounding area offer a serene sanctuary for those who desire a reprieve from their busy lives, and for those who seek refuge from the hustle-bustle of the city.
Among those many thousands are kids, generally ranging in ages from 6 to 17, who flock to the large number of summer camps in northern New York every year.
Upstate New York is home to one of the largest concentrations of youth summer camps in the country. With offerings of adventure camps, sports camps, girls summer camps, boys summer camps, and a wilderness camp or two, there are summer programs and camp in the Adirondacks to meet just about every need, desire, or area of interest.
It’s not hard to understand why there is an inordinate amount of summer camps in this area. If you’ve been through this part of the country, you know that most of these camps are nestled amidst some of the most spectacular scenery that North America has to offer. The area is wooded, mountainous, and abundant with lakes and waterways, giving it a unique and captivating topography. It’s no wonder why so many youth summer camps have been established and have flourished here. Additionally, as you might imagine, summer camp counselor jobs are grabbed up very quickly in these parts.
Because these summer camp counselor jobs are so coveted, the camps in the Adirondacks get some of the best and brightest. Their backgrounds, education, and experience are carefully vetted and, as evidenced from countless testimonials, kids really benefit from what these counselors have to offer.
The camps themselves—some of which were established in the early 1900’s, and many of which have become generational traditions—are situated on or close to the multitude of lakes distributed throughout the region. This is a very attractive feature to many campers who revel in all of the water-related activities; sailing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and windsurfing among them.
In addition to their proximity to water (some of the camps are even set up on their own peninsulas!), some of the camps are housed in large alcoves, and some are located deeper in the woods. For those who are more into the “survival” or “adventure” aspects, there are camps that accommodate.
Mankind has gravitated towards his natural surroundings in order to seek peace and solitude, to be able to breathe the fresh air and experience an unobstructed view.
There is something about nature; mountains, large bodies of water, rolling hills which gives us a sense of something that is much bigger than us, and it seems to offer us a certain calmness. And the enchanting natural setting within the pristine Adirondacks is one huge reason why youth summer camp has become so popular in this area.