Posts Tagged ‘summer camp’

B Strong, Find Your Community

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

I Zigga Zumba?

Last night, the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series.  The media celebrates the Cinderella “From Worst to First” baseball story; the players celebrate the fans and the city; and the Team Manager, John Farrell, celebrates the players.

The Boston Marathon bombing was tragic and terrifying, yet the story that has unfolded as the Red Sox moved toward the pennant was anything but.  Winning a world championship in America’s game with a motley crew of bearded dudes and players who hail from Aruba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Japan, and all over the US sounds both incredible and a bit like Opening Day at Big Spring.

When it comes to describing the way the team worked together, the word that we keep hearing is “chemistry.”  I would argue that it should be “community.”  That is what these men have, and they have it because—from day one of spring training—they pushed themselves to be the best team they could be.  That is why they were incredibly fun to watch both during the season and in post-season play.  One could tell that they truly enjoyed each other.  From the beard pulling to the varied personnel executing key hits to the hilarious head butting on first base to their individual passion for the game, these men created community through tradition, ritual, irreverence, hard work, and their collective desire to support one another.  It was this community which carried them through mishaps, errors, and challenges into first place in the American League…and now, into history as the 2013 World Series champions.

Why, as a nation, are we so enamored?  Why do we love this 95-years-in-the-making story so much?

Because, at our cores, we understand that community and a sense of belonging makes us more responsible and caring.  Because we understand that supporting one another when times are tough, or tragic, is more important than our individual day-to-day stressors.  Because we understand that community can, and should, include people from all over the world who are invested in a common purpose.  Because we need to see grit and quality character modeled regularly so we can internalize and realize our own authentic selves.  Because we love the inside jokes, the fun, the joy, and the playfulness of people who don’t take themselves too seriously and simply love the game.  Because we appreciate giving, respectful, model leaders who have the class to recognize and applaud the fierce strength of their opponents before the press corps can ask a single question about their victory.  Because we want to see perseverance, effort, trust and unselfish teamwork be rewarded.  And all of this because we want to root for the underdog.

At one point in our lives, each of us was an underdog.  And many of us were, and are, fortunate enough to have a community of unique individuals that celebrated our mundane, sublime, monumental and ridiculous accomplishments.  We often find ourselves at our most “underdog” moments when we feel powerless, voiceless, unmoored and lost.  For some, that might have been in middle school, for others—right now.  Yet, when we found—or find– “our people” “our community” “our place”—suddenly we had and have the support to be more confident, strong and directed.

Community.  That is both the lesson and legacy of the 2013 Boston Red Sox and the realized vision of Laura and Sandy Sanborn: when we can come together, connect face-to-face, overcome obstacles and simply play…amazing things will happen.

Congratulations, Boston.  Thanks for modeling one heck-of-a-fun sense of community.

~Ariella Rogge

Disclaimer:  The opinions (and overt team support) expressed in this blog post belong to the author who wrote the blog post and don’t necessarily reflect the views (or preferred team/teams) of the organization and its members(We love you, too, St. Louis)

Adventures In the High Country

Friday, June 29th, 2012

June 28, 8:00 PM

We have had a super day at camp and the High Trails Lodge was extremely exuberant at dinner as many of our trips returned to camp and everyone was eager to share their adventures.  They all spent time in some of Colorado’s most beautiful wilderness areas, many of them climbed mountains, and all enjoyed the comradeship of their peers and counselors.  A few trips are still out tonight and will return tomorrow, and then everyone will be here together over the weekend.

There were only about 30 campers eating dinner at the Big Spring Lodge tonight because most of the boys are on overnight trips.  These boys have some super adventures planned for tomorrow including an all-day climb of Mt. Princeton and an all-day Sanborn Spring tank Bomber Hike, a major undertaking to hike to all of the 30 spring tanks on our property.

The Junior Campers in both camps are camped out tonight on camp property and are enjoying this overnight adventure.

Firefighters made good progress on the Waldo Canyon Fire today and reached 10% containment.  They are beginning to discuss the possible opening of Highway 24 so hopefully that will take place in the not-too-distant future.

More news tomorrow…Jane

Sanborn Summer Staff: True Professionals

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Mentor, Leader, Youth Development Professional

There has been quite a bit of buzz about camps recently. The New York Times ran a number of articles in its Motherlode parenting blog over the weekend. In one, Dan Fleshler doubts the resume building value of working as a camp counselor, and in the other, Michael Thompson extolls the benefits of having college-aged camp counselors who can “out-parent” parents. Finally, KJ Dell’Antonia struggles as a new-to-camp, first-time camp parent who wonders, “Is It Too Late to Send Myself to Camp?

All of these articles speak to the education and human development that occurs at camp. The campers grow, the staff grow. The American Camp Association has detailed the 13 Core Competencies that camp staff members will develop while they work at camp.

As a camp counselor, you will gain professional skills that are applicable to many future careers. Staff learn skills that enhance Youth and Adult Growth and Development. They are exposed to and design different Learning Environments and Curricula. Program Planning allows counselors room for creativity, innovation, and developing advanced organization and teaching skills. Counselors learn how to Observe, Assess, and Evaluate the efficacy of their teaching and counseling skills. They develop Professionalism and Leadership by working with career camp staffers who truly understand the larger place of camp in the “whole education” of every child. Young counselors recognize the value of Health and Wellness for both themselves, campers and within the creation of work/life balance. Staff members practice Risk Management–in urban, rural and extreme outdoor environments. Cultural Competence allows staff to develop respect for, an understanding of and for ALL people, no matter what their background. Counselors make connections with Families and Communities that provide the opportunity to expand their own networks as well as help them see the positive impact of their job. Children and adults who have positive experiences with Nature and Environment are happier, healthier and smarter…and ALL of our camp counselors are nature counselors. Sanborn has incredibly progressive Business Management and Practices and policies, and many senior staff have the opportunity to manage other staff members and receive professional training on business leadership and management. At camp, Human Resources Management doesn’t stop after counselors are hired…counselors are given regular formal and informal feedback about their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement so they can improve immediately and transfer those improvements to the campers. Camp staff also engage in Site and Facilities Management while they are responsible for the upkeep and care of expensive camping equipment, camp vehicles, and the overall care of the facilities…plus they are teaching campers how to care for those things, too.

A few camper stories

Friday, February 17th, 2012

A few stories to send you into what is hopefully a good weekend for you…

Hi, I’m Daniela and I want to tell you about a great horseback riding experience! Here at Sanborn, they teach you everything about the horses and give you time to love them. There is time to appreciate and learn about them. The wranglers help you understand the horses and how horses understand your feelings. Horses teach you how that everything is possible! They give you a feeling of comfort, even though the horses are bigger than you. The horseback riding experience at Sanborn is unforgettable and you shouldn’t miss it!

I love horses! I ride English at home and compete in lots of horse shows. I really love to come to camp and ride Western. It is fun and relaxed and I still learn a lot. The wranglers are all really nice! I am able to sign up for lessons on Saturdays, go on a horse overnight, and different rides in the morning and afternoon. Even though it is a different type of riding, the wranglers help me improve my riding skills so I will be a better rider when I go home. I like going on trail rides because we get to play games on horseback and talk to our friends. I definitely recommend riding while at Sanborn!

We are getting ready for our last overnight this week. I am really excited to go on the Pirate overnight. I heard we get to build a pirate ship, go on a scavenger hunt, and play fun games! I loved all of my trips and activities this summer. I can’t decide which is my favorite! I am going to be really sad to go home soon. I have made such great friends this session – I’ve made some new friends and spent time with some people who were here last year. This has been such a fun summer and I can’t wait to come back next year!

Camper Stories

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

We are already gearing up for another amazing summer! As we think about the adventures we’ll be having, it is fun to reflect on some trips from last summer.

Hi everybody. My name is Emma and this is my second year coming to Sanborn. I climbed my first mountain EVER last Monday and Tuesday. It was Mount Ouray. It was very difficult, but a great experience. We summitted after 9 hours of hiking and rock scrambling. The view from the top was unbelievably beautiful. There is no way that anyone who has not climbed a mountain understands what it’s like – it’s amazing! Long trips start today for some people, but mine starts tomorrow. I am climbing my second mountain, Pikes Peak, as a 4-day trip. Camp is going by so quickly and it is so much fun! Sanborn is the best summer camp ever!         – Emma Williams

Last week was SOLE for us freshmen. I was in the Colorado Trail / Belford group. We spent three days hiking the Colorado Trail, which was gorgeous. One Wednesday we were driven to the base of Oxford-Belford where we hiked up a trail for 1.5 miles with pickaxes and shovels. The next day we hiked another 2 miles to our trail work site where we moved rocks to cover up a false trail. The work was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. However, it was completely worth it when we looked down at our work and saw what a difference we made.        – Carly

The food here is very delicious and there is a lot of variety. It doesn’t matter if you are vegetarian, vegan, or whatever, the Sanborn kitchen will have something for you! The kitchen staff put out peanut butter and a salad bar, and oatmeal for breakfast, besides what is served on the tables. YUM! Sanborn gives us healthy and good meals! We have water, tea, juice, and milk to drink – no sodas (unless sometimes bought at the store). At the end of lunch and dinner there are desserts, like cookies or brownies or other yummy stuff! There is no better place to get food than the Sanborn Kitchen!       – Raquel

Remembering Camper Stories

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Camp has sadly come to an end for the summer of 2011. Things are very quiet at Big Spring and High Trails! While we are already looking forward to next summer, we want to share a few more stories from this summer…

Today we went horseback riding. We all put on our jeans and boots and walked to the barn. First we talked to our wrangler about how to saddle our horses before our ride. The sun was blazing hot, but luckily we all finished saddling quickly. My horse was named Popcorn. She is dark brown and pretty tall. We walked through all the pretty trees and mountains. At about noon we stopped for lunch. YUM! We tied our horses to trees and enjoyed a delicious meal. Turkey sandwiches and fruit. After we ate, we got back on our horses and started to head back to camp. On the way back we took a different trail and saw colorful flowers and lots of trees. After an all-day ride, we got back to the barn and untacked our horses. This was probably the best horseback riding trip ever all because of SANBORN!!
Abby G.

One day early in the morning we got up and dressed to go on our all-day horse ride. It was really fun! When we got to the barn I looked on the sheet and I got Rafter. Rafter was a tall horse. He was really sweet and listened to everything I told him to do, and he loved to trot fast. I loved him so much. When we got back, we put the horses in the pen. Rafter dropped on the ground and started to roll in the dirt. I said “Rafter I just brushed you” and he just looked up at me, stood up, and came up to the fence and licked my hands.
Alexandra D.

There are lots of fun things to do at Sanborn. The fun thing I just did was the Artsy Overnight. It is a hike to Tie Cabin and we make art. It took us about twenty minutes to get ready with our backpacks full of food and tents. And then we were ready to go. It took about two hours to get there and set up our tents. Then we started to draw, make key chains, rock necklaces, and so much more. The day went by so fast. It was time to go to bed. I was sad to leave the fun things that we were doing, but I knew that a bunch more fun things await me and my campmates!
Addie T.

We just got back from our very fun overnight, the Artsy Overnight. When we got back, we went to outcamp to wash dishes and put away the food. We had a delicious lunch of hamburgers, french fries, and root beer floats. We met at the lodge for our afternoon activities – I chose blogging. I know we are going to be very sad to leave our new friends we made at Sanborn. But most of us are coming back for another summer of fun!
Taylor L.

A Parent’s Guide to a Sanborn Camper’s Letter

Friday, June 24th, 2011

SANBORNISMS: Over the years many words have crept into the camp language that are not found in Webster’s. If you are receiving letters from a camper this summer, here are a few definitions to help you with translation.

ABLE WAITERS. Campers at Big Spring who choose to come to each meal 30 minutes early, eat early, and then serve food to other campers when the main meal starts. Benefits include an excellent salary (chits which may be used at the camp store); special treatment from the cooks; and a high degree of prestige. MABLES are the servers at High Trails and everyone takes a turn. Benefits are the same.

ASSISTANT COUNSELORS. Commonly called ACs, these staff members wash the dishes after each meal and keep camp buildings clean. They also work in many areas of the camp program and add a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to every aspect of the camp community.

BOMBER. A long, day hike which can be chosen from the trip sign up sheet and sometimes from the in-camp program. These hikes range in length from 5-25 miles and cover a lot of beautiful territory. Near the end of the term there is even a Bomber Hike to climb Pikes Peak offered to older campers.

CHIT. The currency at Sanborn Camps, chits are accepted at the camp stores. They may be earned by excellence in tent or cabin clean-up, able or mabel waiting, and a variety of other good deeds.

CHIPPY DIPPY BARS. A delicious chocolately homemade dessert.

FLUBBER. A magical substance which is a solid one minute, a liquid the next. Named after the amazing goo which starred in several Walt Disney movies, this stuff is lots of fun to experiment with.

GORP. A high energy trail snack which is used on camp trips.  It usually consists of M&M’s, raisins, and peanuts although creative trip leaders may also add granola and other special treats.

INTERBARN, THE. A large science center located between Big Spring and High Trails, the Interbarn houses fun, creative displays like the giant walk-in replica of a living cell and the Talking Rock. A lot of fun activities take place here during the summer—including flubber-making bubble-blowing, “Mad Scientists”, hot air balloon making and much more.

JUNIOR COUNSELORS. Commonly called “JCs”, these are the oldest campers at High Trails. In addition to participating in an advanced activity program, their program includes leadership training and opportunities.  OUTBACKERS are the same campers at Big Spring.

RIDGE LEADER. A senior staff member who supervises several tents/cabins. They are here to support staff and campers, lead trips, organize program areas, and many other behind the scenes jobs.

SCHMERLTZ “THE WORLD’S GREATEST GAME”. Invented at Big Spring, in the 1950s, this game which began with socks packed with dirt has achieved fame as the “Foxtail” game which is now commercially sold. Although we’ve replaced the dirt with a ball, we still use a sock. Two teams face each other on the playing field and throw the schmertlz toward a goal — there are a wide variety of ever-changing rules — but it is always “the world’s greatest game”!

SIERRA CUP. A metal cup with a handle which is used on camping trips for eating and drinking. Easy to clean and carry, it is the only dish you’ll ever need!

VESPERS or SUNDAY ROCKS. On Sundays Big Spring and High Trails each hike to a high point to watch the sunset, reflect on the week, sing songs, and share inspirational quotes. This is a non-sectarian service that celebrates camp values and the beauty of the natural world.

WRANGLER. A staff member who specializes in teaching horseback riding. They lead great horse trips and are exceptionally good at helping everyone from beginning to advanced riders improve their horsemanship skills. They are renowned culinary artists of the back-country.

Meet a Big Spring Counselor: The Wranglers

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Here’s another entry in our Meet-a-big-spring-counselor series!

This time, the Wranglers:

Will Ostendorf

Will Ostendorf

Will Ostendorf
Your Name? – Will Ostendorf (AKA ‘Will-O’)
Where do you call home? – Fort Collins, Colorado
Where do you go to school? – Colorado State University
What are you studying? – Music and Business
What year are you? – Senior
How did you hear about Sanborn? – From my old college roommate, K-Rob.
How long have you been here? – This is my fourth year on staff — I love it!
What unit(s) are you working with this summer? – I’m the head wrangler for Big Spring.
What are you most excited for this summer? – I’m really excited to teach some campers about horses, and get them excited to learn more about riding.
Favorite Hobby: – Photography, Riding my bike
Favorite Camp Activity?- Counselor Hunt
Favorite Camp Meal? – Bowls of Life Cereal
I never leave home without….. – My multi-tool (Except when I lose it — it’s a very sad day!)

Eddy Rutledge

Eddy Rutledge

Eddy Rutledge
Your Name? – Eddy Rutledge
Where do you call home? – Gunnison, Colorado
Where do you go to school? – Western State
What are you studying? – Anthropology
What year are you? – Sophomore
How did you hear about Sanborn? – Sanborn and I go way back.
How long have you been here? – This is my third year on staff
What unit(s) are you working with this summer? – I’m a wrangler, so I work with the horses.
What are you most excited for this summer? – I’m really stoked for Riding Horses this summer
Favorite Hobby: – Living in the mountains
Favorite Camp Activity?- Riding Horses
Favorite Camp Meal? – Bowls of Gravy
I never leave home without….. – My mustache

Marty Brodsky

Marty Brodsky

Marty Brodsky
Your Name? – Marty Brodsky
Where do you call home? – Colorado, In Various Locations
Where do you go to school? – University of Colorado at Boulder
What are you studying? – Anthropology
What year are you? – I graduated in 2009
How did you hear about Sanborn? – Some old friends of mine were campers
How long have you been here? – This is my first year on staff
What unit(s) are you working with this summer? – I’m a wrangler
What are you most excited for this summer? – Riding Horses and leading trips
Favorite Hobby: – Playing Music (Guitar)
Favorite Camp Activity?- Riding Horses
Favorite Camp Meal? – Vickie’s Coffee Cake
I never leave home without….. – My Guitar

Andrew Robbins

Andrew Robbins

Andrew Robbins
Your Name? – Robbins (AKA ‘Andrew Robbins’)
Where do you call home? – Boulder, Colorado
Where do you go to school? – CU Boulder
What are you studying? – Architectural Engineering
What year are you? – Junior
How did you hear about Sanborn? – I used to be a camper here
How long have you been here? – 5 years as a camper; my 3rd on staff
What unit(s) are you working with this summer? – The horses — I’m a wrangler!
What are you most excited for this summer? – The 17 Trillion Dollar Buffet
Favorite Hobby: – Listening to music, and playing guitar
Favorite Camp Activity? – Gymkhana
Favorite Camp Meal? – Frito Pie
I never leave home without….. – My Chaps

Scot Anderson

Scot Anderson

Scot Anderson
Your Name: Scot Anderson (Some people call me ‘Scott’, with two Ts — but you can only hear one T.)
Where do you call home? – Witcher Ranch, here at Sanborn Western Camps. I live here with my family.
What do you do here? – I’m the Ranch Manager.
Where did you hear about Sanborn? – I used to be a counselor here, way back in the day.
What are you most dreading this summer? – Keeping my cows where they need to be, without them getting out.
What are you most excited for this summer? – Helping encourage the hearts of children to explore the out-of-doors, away from the city, and helping them learn more about the natural world.
Favorite Camp Meal? – Fresh Apple Pie, baked on the campfire.
I never leave home without….. – My Mustache (Which is far better than Eddy’s)

Keep an eye out for more Meet-a-Big-Spring-Counselor posts!

All of the Little Parts

Monday, June 6th, 2011

High Trails Staff "Chips Off the Old Block"

Last week we welcomed our 2011 staff to Big Spring and High Trails and the camps are once again alive with the sounds of hiking feet, laughter in the Lodge, and splashing at the pools. It is always exciting to reconnect with old friends who are returning to the camps and to begin to get to know our new staff. For them, everything is fresh and new and it is energizing to look at the camps through their eyes.

During staff week we always stress that the summer of 2011 is our only focus now, and that the community we will build together this summer is unique. We also remind them, however, that they have now joined a long history of campers and staff who have contributed a part of themselves to create what Big Spring and High Trails are today.

Those contributions are evident in the songs we sing: our songbook still contains at least four songs written by campers or staff over the years. It also contains songs where we have changed the words and made them our own. “High Trails where the people you meet are your friends” was created by a cabinside group in 1965 and we sing it still. “I Zigga Zumba” comes from the earliest history of Big Spring.  Those contributions are also evident in our Words of Wisdom quote book where we have collected the inspiring things that you said or thoughts that you brought to camp with you.

There are a significant number of landscape features or buildings that you named and the names have stuck. Just yesterday I was explaining to a group of staff drivers that our maintenance building is called “Leo’s” in honor of David Sebring, who was here 1961-68. Were you part of the JC group that built the stairs in front of the craft shop? They are still there.  Did you, as an Outbacker, help build the Bridge below the Big Spring Infirmary? It still stands.

Your games and program ideas have also come down through the ages. We know who invented Schmerltz (Peter Whitely and Phil Marthens) but who first invented Marshmallow Baseball? Libby Malone brought the Bring Me Game to camp and another alum taught us all Hungarian Frisbee. The list goes on and on.

And, there are the immense contributions of those alums whose children are now 2011 staff members. People like Kassie Marshall (HT 70-71, 73) and Paige Vicker (HT Staff 83) whose daughters Emily Katz and Taylor Klauber are counselors at High Trails; or Jay Metcalf (BS 66-71, Staff 75-80) who has two daughters, Emily and Linnea, on our staff. Sophie Ohaus, daughter of Karl Ohaus (BS 68-75, Staff 77-79) is working at High Trails as is Bea Raemdonck, daughter of Leslie Riss (HT 63-68; Staff 69). Joe Aniello, son of Susie Wells (HT 76,78) , Kurt Blose, son of Nancy Heitsch (HT 77), Josh Feldman, son of John Feldman (BS 69-70) and Andrew Morton, son of James Morton (BS 69-71) are on the staff at Big Spring this summer.

And, of course, when campers begin to arrive next Sunday, we will have the great joy of welcoming many of your children to Big Spring and High Trails (almost 200 of our campers this summer will be the children and/or grandchildren of alums). So, even though you are not physically here for the summer of 2011, your spirit and contributions live on. Sandy always used to say that “Everyone leaves a little part of themselves at camp.” Believe me, those little parts are still valued here.

The H-Word: Homesickness at Overnight Camp

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

At Camp: Get kids engaged! (Reviving a hummingbird helps shift the focus off of the homesickness)

Homesickness is scary for parents because reading a letter filled with emotional vulnerability while WE are physically separated from our child is very hard. Yet it is important for a child to be able to express that vulnerability to us—and for us to validate that feeling, yet not try and own it for our children. By trusting their ability to overcome those moments of homesickness, we are empowering them to trust in their decisions in the future.

Over the years we have seen that transparency between parent and child, open and honest conversations, and allowing children to “own” the camp decision prior to camp significantly lessen the possibility, frequency and intensity of homesickness.

At Camp: Have counseling staff available to meet and talk to parents as they arrive to drop off their campers

In our experience, children who are actively involved in choosing the camp they attend are often less likely to experience homesickness. If they DO experience homesickness, they are more apt to be able to work through (with the assistance and validation of supportive adults on the camp staff) those emotions if they feel they have had ownership over the decision to attend camp in the first place.

We have also found that parents who take the time to talk about and listen to ANY potential fears the child may have about camp, really provide the emotional support and validation the child needs to feel prior to their arrival at camp. A parent who says, “Oh, you shouldn’t worry about that—you’ll LOVE horseback riding!” is taking away the child’s personal ability to process, “I am nervous about riding horses….but if I try horseback riding, and I don’t like it, I don’t have to sign up for that activity anymore.” Additionally, don’t impose your own fears on your child—YOU might be the one who is terrified of horses…but your own personal fears shouldn’t trump a child’s desire to try new things in a safe, controlled environment.

At Camp: Make camper arrivals VERY fun for the whole camp!

Another key for a successful (and homesick-free) first overnight camp experience is helping a child make connections between camp and previous “overnight” experiences. With our younger campers, we really encourage previous overnight visits/trips with family and friends because it is a good indicator of potential challenges the child may have at camp. If a child flies halfway across the country to stay with Grandma and Grandpa for a month every summer, he/she won’t have some of the same apprehensions and concerns as a child who has NEVER spent a night away from home. In that case, role playing will often help a child think about some of the concerns she might have—like Mom not reading to her every night, or Dad not being there to kiss him before bed—and you can decide if a “practice run” at a family member or friend’s house might be in order.

Finally (and most difficult) parents need to be honest with themselves about the camp experience. Why do you want your child to go to camp? What skills are you hoping he will gain? If those skills are self-efficacy, confidence, perseverance, resilience, inner strength, or independence, then you—as a parent—need to support the personal growth they WILL have at overnight camp. No problem, you think, but that means you have a conversation that looks like this:

Child: Even though we have talked about all of these things, if I don’t like camp, can you come pick me up?

Parent: If you don’t like camp, I want you to write me a letter and let me know what is happening that makes you not like the experience. I will think about what you have said, then I will write back. Some days at camp might be hard, some days might be the most fun you have ever had, some days might be boring, and some days might make you feel like you are on top of the world. We have talked a lot about camp, and you have said you feel ready for this experience. I am excited for you, and excited about all of the stories you will have to tell me when you get home. Because I believe in you and in the camp we have picked out together, I will not pick you up from camp if you feel sad or homesick. I will be ready to hear about all the good times, and the hard times, when you get home.

At Camp: Be a confident parent. Help make the bed, ask for a hug, and give your child the gift of heading home.

And when you DO get the sad letter, take a deep breath, and feel free to call the camp director and get more information about what is going on. In most cases, a child who writes a “sad” letter at the beginning of camp is absolutely fine by the time the letter arrives home. If your child is truly having a hard time at camp, the camp director will often call and create a strategy with you to help your child work through the challenge. Yet it is up to you as a parent to create a foundation, and an understanding, that—no matter what challenges might come your child’s way—you believe in her enough that you will resist interfering with her experience.

If we can keep these things in mind, we will give our children the gift of camp: a sense of self, a sense of community, a sense of the earth, and a sense of wonder through fun and adventure. We are giving them the opportunity for new, fun, and challenging experiences; the opportunity to learn necessary leadership, followership, and social skills; the opportunity to play in the natural world and to learn about interconnections in nature and in life; the opportunity to develop the self-efficacy, confidence, perseverance, resilience, independence and inner strength that will eventually allow them to be happy, successful, functional adults.

And, in the end, if they miss home a little bit—they are learning to appreciate their family and friends that much more, too.

How have you or your children dealt with homesickness in the past?