The summer has come to a close and as we look ahead to a year of school and learning we hope our campers are putting to use those lessons learned over the summer. As fun as camp is, we know our campers get a whole lot more than a fun get away during their time with us. It’s the overall experience that truly means something and we expect our campers are changed for the better because of it.
At camp your children have stayed away from home, many for the first time, and they had to deal with life without mom and dad for a little while. It’s sometimes a little scary at first, but, most pull through and realize they are stronger then they thought. They still miss mom and dad, but, they know they will have a great time with their new friends and counselors who offer an alternative support system to the safety of home and family.
Now that your campers have returned home, I would highly encourage you to keep that momentum going. Help your child believe in the power they have to choose and to think independently. Of course our children still need their parents up until a certain age but at seven or eight years old they should start searching for a little independence.
Our campers get to try things and activities they probably would never do at home due to time and availability. At camp if a camper wants to do it they will at least get to try it. It’s an opportunity for them to choose their own path and to see through success or failure if it was the right path for them.
I can tell you from personal experience that my son has chosen to try many things at camp and not always successfully. My son, at 8 years old, knows that he has zero interest in tennis, an activity beloved here at Camp Friendship and taught by our own tennis professional. He has no interest to further his knowledge of the sport. Now, like most 8 year olds he loves the pool, but he doesn’t just love it; he would live in it if he could. You might say this isn’t solely a camp activity but nowhere else would he get the encouragement or the attention he gets at camp while at the pool. It’s this relationship between the counselors and his friends that really define this activity for him.
He’s not afraid to try those new skills in the pool or at the lake because he knows should he fail or succeed his friends and counselors will be there to support him.
I guess ultimately what I’m trying to say is, now that our campers have gone home it’s up to you to help them continue believing in themselves, keep challenging themselves, and create that sort of encouraging atmosphere they need to thrive at home and at school. Rest assured, we will be here next summer to help and to continue that mission.