The Best Ways to Cope With Homesickness at Summer Camp

Don’t let homesickness prevent your children from having a Virginia Summer Camp experience they’ll never forget! Camp Friendship in Palmyra, VA takes pride in making it’s campers feel like they are at a home away from home!

As a first year camper, or maybe even returning camper, many children will have to face the difficulties of homesickness. Being homesick is not abnormal, nor is it incurable. In fact, according to author and psychologist Michael Thompson, PhD, 97 percent of children experience at least some occasional homesick feelings at camp. So, with this statistic in mind, it is important to understand how to handle your child’s homesickness, and the best ways to help them move forward and enjoy the summer.

Most importantly, try to prevent homesickness at all. The best way to go about doing so is to set up a support network for campers before the summer begins. Introduce your child to old campers or workers that you can rely on and trust. These people will help them to feel a connection with someone within their camp community and will eliminate the “I need Mommy” feelings.

Also, try to send a lot of letters and care packages. Do not over do it by sending one every day, for this will get the child overly attached to you. Send just enough letters and packages so that your child feels your support and is connected to you in a happy way. Remember also that constant updates on the events occurring at home may leave them feeling left out. Try to ask a lot about what fun they are having.

Mobile App for iPhone, iPad, AndroidYou can also use our website, Facebook Page and the Camp Friendship App to your advantage. Print pictures that your child is in and enclose them in the letters. Put fun captions underneath that say things like “This looks great!”, “I’m jealous” or “what fun!” These notes will remind them of the good times they are having when they are not missing home. You can also remind them of this by distracting them from the homesickness. Every time they bring up negative thoughts on camp, change the topic. Only discussing the fun times will help them to realize all they could be participating in. “Camp is like life,” said one camper on an open forum, “The more you get involved, the more you’ll get out of it.”

Handling homesickness is a battle every parent will have to face. By setting your child up for success and ensuring constant engagement in fun activities, you can prevent and eliminate their desires to come home, and kick off their amazing summers! Do not forget to be understanding, but more importantly, show them how wrong they truly are. At Camp Friendship, we’d take camp over home any day!

How Nature at Summer Camp in Virginia Can Help With ADD

Parents of children with attention deficit problems are always looking for new strategies to help their children cope. An interesting new study suggests that spending time in nature may help.

A small study conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign looked at how the environment influenced a child’s concentration skills. The researchers evaluated 17 children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, who all took part in three 20-minute walks in a park, a residential neighborhood and a downtown area.

After each walk, the children were given a standard test called Digit Span Backwards, in which a series of numbers are said aloud and the child recites them backwards. The test is a useful measure of attention and concentration because practice doesn’t improve the score. The order of the walks varied for all the children, and the tester wasn’t aware of which walk the child had just taken.

The study found that children were able to focus better after the “green” walks compared to walks in other settings. The researchers found that a “dose of nature” worked as well or better than a dose of medication on the child’s ability to concentrate.

Of course, this small study does not prove that nature is the remedy for all ADD problems. However, nature has been long known to be the best and most effective unlimited resource available. This study proves the already sneaking suspicion that nature is a remedy, though for no definite time frame. Camp Friendship is located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on 520 acres of rolling hills and woods, which makes it the perfect environment for children to get a “dose of nature”. It’s worth a shot, after all a walk in the park never hurt anybody.

Take a look at all our summer camp programs and activities, and get registered for Summer Camp 2013 at Camp Friendship.

Let Them Fail So They Can Succeed

Canoeing at Summer CampLet me share a short little story with you about my son.  My son, “Aiden”, is currently 9 years old and he has spent every summer of his life at summer camp!  He learned to walk at summer camp for the first time; surrounded by campers and counselors in the dining hall he took his first steps.  Aiden has met and interacted with children and adults from Scotland, England, France, China, South Africa, South Korea, and many more countries.  In those 9 years he has played, ran, fallen and gotten back up.  He has learned to swim in the pool and graduated to the lake dive.  Complete and utter strangers have cared for my son every summer for 9 years. Over those 9 years of his life he has had many experiences that many children his age and older will never have.

Does this make my son special?  No!  These experiences provide him with an opportunity to build character, to make choices, and to make mistakes in a safe environment.  With all the changes in today’s education system and the many fears we have in our society our children have lost the sense of wonder many of us grew up with.  Kids don’t care what’s outside their front door anymore and parents are afraid of what’s outside.  As a parent I can relate to that fear.  I’m terrified for my children every single day of my life.  However, I know that these experiences will make them resilient and strong human beings.  They will be able to work through many of lives challenges because they already did it at camp!

Academics are important but if my child can’t communicate or relate to other human beings it will not matter if he or she knows the square root of 527!  Over half of the nations first year college students drop out.  They have the academic knowledge to get into school but they don’t have the socialization, life experiences, and problem solving skills to make it through.  Parents, schools, and camps must partner together to provide our children with the best possible opportunity to succeed.  Will you give your child the best chance at success?

Rainy Day Activities to Get You Through Spring and on to Summer Camp!

The old saying, April showers bring May flowers is unfortunately or fortunately true (depending on how you look at). Before we can get to the May flowers, the June sun to follow, and Summer Camp Season that follows all of it…we have to get through the rain. Just like here at camp, rain can put a damper on your plans, but fear not! We’ve come up with a list of some great rainy day activities you can do at home!

  1. Bake – Baking is a fun way to waste a few hours stuck in the house. Whip up your favorite treat such as brownies or cupcakes! Don’t have mix? Use our friend the Internet and look up a recipe from scratch! The process is guaranteed to keep you occupied for at least an hour and you’ll get a delicious reward!! Get creative with it, decorate until your heart is content!
  2. Dance Party – Get active! Just because you can’t run around outside, doesn’t mean you can’t be active! Put on your favorite songs and dance, dance, dance! A little rain can’t stop the dance party!
  3. Get Smart – No, we don’t mean watch the movie. We mean try some educational yet fun activities, like a puzzle! Challenge yourself to Sudoku or read a good book!
  4. Art Time – Make something unique that no one else has. Try a sun catcher for when the rainbow appears after the storm. Make something you can bring with you to camp, or even make a gift for you family members! One of our favorite crafts is the crayon painting. Just hot glue a pack of unwrapped crayons, in rainbow order, to a canvas and blow dry so that the wax melts down. It creates a beautiful piece of art! Crafting will help you keep busy all day (plus, the clean-up will kill some time too…)!
  5. Movie Marathon – Get some popcorn popped, dim the lights and create the most theater like atmosphere possible, then sit back and enjoy all your favorites! Try to mix it up, watch a comedy, then a romance, or a horror film!
  6. Get Creative – Remember when a cardboard box was the most entertaining object in the house? Take an old box and make a car out of it. Pitch a tent or build a fort out of the sheets in your room! Go on ‘crazy adventures’ in your tent or try pretending you are on a boat. In the land of make believe anything is possible!!
  7. Go Outside – Yes, we said it! Brave the great ‘storm’. Bundle up in your rain boots and umbrella and stomp around in the puddles! You can dance in the rain as well! Why not?

Go ahead, give a few of these a try! You’ll be busy all day long, and it may just become the best rainy day you’ve ever had!!! You can also use this time to talk about summer! We are excited about our upcoming summer camp season here at Camp Friendship. So, while you’re planning, spend some time thinking about us here in Virginia. We can’t wait until we get to have rainy day fun with all the campers!! If you haven’t registered for a summer camp session, register now!