Writing Letters to your Camper: Tips Every Parent Should Read!

We know how hard it can be to send your child away to camp for weeks at a time and not be able to call or message them as often as you’d like. Although Camp Friendship is a technology-free camp, we also highly value communication and try to help you stay in touch with your camper as often as possible. We have our special e-letter system in place for just this reason, and we even set aside time during each busy camp day for campers to write home.

Some parents like to pre-write a number of letters to be delivered during their child’s stay at camp. If you’d like to do this, please date each letter and mail them ahead of time or drop them with us on Check-In Day. For ideas, check out 5 Letters to Write to Your Kids and our 5 tips below:

  1. Keep your letters upbeat. It’s important for campers to receive encouraging letters focused on the positive experience of camp rather than what they may be missing out on at home.
  2. Ask lots of specific questions. What is your favorite activity so far and why? What do you do in the evenings? What countries are your counselors from and have you learned anything new about that country?
  3. Give them updates about things that interest them. If their favorite sports team has played recently, give them the scores and updates, or if they’re interested in a particular celebrity, TV show or competition you could update them on these too. Not only does this show your camper that you value what interests them, but it will help them to feel connected to something familiar without bringing about homesickness.
  4. Send campers your love, not your anxiety. Try not to constantly talk about how much you miss them – rather express how much you care and how you can’t wait to hear all about the fun they’ve had at camp.
  5. Get creative and fun! Unique letters from a pet, secret coded letters or puzzle-type letters that need to be solved are always a hit here at camp! You’ll find some great ideas here  and also here.

What to do if your child gets homesick:

Research shows that around 90% of campers will experience some level of homesickness at least once during the summer. Please know that homesickness is definitely the norm rather than the exception, and let your child know that it’s completely OK to miss home and the things that are familiar to them.

At Camp Friendship, our staff are well-trained to deal with all levels of homesickness and with this being our 51st summer we have a good idea of what works to encourage campers to make the most of their camp experience. Our goal is for every camper to have a successful summer where they gain independence, increase their self-confidence and form connections with others. Parents can help by preparing themselves and their camper for the summer in a way that might prevent homesickness. Read more here.

Tips for what to say in a letter to a homesick camper: 

  • Empathize with them, but let them know that you’re proud of them for taking the big step to come to camp.
  • Reassure them that it’s OK to miss home, everyone does at some point, and being in a new environment can make anyone anxious.
  • Relate to them. You could share personal experiences of a time when you yourself felt homesick or if your camper has an older sibling or family member that successfully overcame homesickness you could share what helped them.
  • Focus on the positive. By the time you receive a homesick letter, your camper is likely to have bounced back and started to enjoy themselves again, so it’s important that your letter doesn’t hinder any progress they may already have made. Concentrating your letter on any exciting news your camper has already shared is a sure-fire way to remind them that camp is a fantastic experience.
  • Make them smile. Write them a few jokes or other creative letters to make them smile if they happen to experience another moment or two where they miss home.
  • Don’t suggest they quit. One of the hardest things for parents not to say is ‘if you don’t like it you can just come home’. While many parents think this will reassure their child, it often does much more harm than good. Of course in severe cases of homesickness this is a decision you would come to over multiple talks and updates from your camper’s Village Supervisor or a Camp Director, however sending your child to camp with the knowledge that they can pull the plug at any time can set them up to have an unsuccessful summer.

Please know that while homesickness is common at all sleepaway camps and across all ages, it doesn’t last long. We’ve had years of supporting our campers through their initial adjustment periods and we know that your brilliantly written letters will help to put a smile on their faces when they need it the most! We believe that it takes a village to raise a child, and we look forward to being an active partner in your child’s journey of wonder and self-discovery.

Why Camp Is a Multi-Year Experience

As active leaders in the camping industry, we know that Camp Gives Kids a World of Good. We’ve seen the studies and statistics and know that summer camp – regardless of which one you pick – can be a positive and impactful experience for any child. But is one time at summer camp enough?

We believe camp is a multi-year experience. Unlike many other long-running sleepaway camps on the east coast which offer 4 or 7 week options, Camp Friendship offers short 1 and 2-week sessions which can be combined to stay multiple weeks. We know that many first-time parents consider their first summer a ‘trial run’, and we also know how important it is for both campers and parents to feel ready for an overnight camp experience (even though at the end of the week, many first-time campers beg to be allowed to stay longer!).

Here’s 5 reasons we know that camp is best when experienced over multiple years:

1. Strengthen connections. Camp gives kids the chance to connect with others face-to-face. Campers stay friends with each other throughout the year and strengthen those existing connections at camp the following summer. Better yet, they continue to expand their circle of friends each year and, at Camp Friendship, they have the added benefit of being exposed to a global village with people who come from all over the world.

2. Practice emotional intelligence. As they get older, children need to practice the self-management of their emotions. Camp is the ideal setting to practice this as counselors serve as excellent yet subtle role models. Children expect to be told what to do and how to be by their parents… they don’t expect to be shaped by their counselors who can give them friendly advice from the vantage point of a friend who cares.

3. Guaranteed growth and progression. Not only is there the activity progression that follows the notion that ‘practice makes perfect’ in any sport or activity, but multiple years at camp offers social growth and development. It also allows campers to increase their independence from year to year. The first time at an overnight camp makes a big impact in the life of our campers, but each subsequent camp experience adds to and enhances the next.

4. Take a break from technology. We hear it every day – the ever-increasing impact of technology on humanity, and specifically children. Every year, as campers get older and become more dependent on technology, having a time set aside when they can be technology-free is a great way to help them become well-adjusted individuals.

5. Remove outside pressures that increase with age. Camp Friendship is a place to be YOU, allowing campers to join a welcoming community where they don’t need to pretend to be someone they’re not. Every aspect of camp creates a nurturing, inclusive environment where campers are encouraged to be themselves. Everyone is equal, everyone is supported, and everyone matters. The pressures from school, siblings and peers are removed, and, as parents, having these pressures removed for a period of time every year is especially appealing.

Horseback Riding Camp Washington D.C.

Camp Friendship is the best horseback riding camp, located only a few hours away from home for Washington D.C. campers. What makes Camp Friendship the best horseback riding camp for children, is that we are experts in teaching the fundamentals of horse and rider, as well as providers of the most fun with our horses. Your child can enjoy time with our gentle horses, playing in the river or taking them out on our extensive cross country trails. Whether your daughter is a beginner or an advanced rider, Camp Friendship has the perfect program for any horse enthusiast! Our programs are designed to bring the best experience to children during their stay at summer camp.

We look forward to hearing from you to discuss the unique experience that a Camp Friendship Summer can provide your children. We are open all year round for tours and questions. Contact Camp Friendship today at 1-800-873-3223.

Residential Camp North Carolina

Camp Friendship is a highly acclaimed summer residential camp for children ages 7-16. Here at Camp Friendship’s summer residential camp near North Carolina, there is something for everyone! Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, we offer an opportunity to experience the best summer possible. Increased self-esteem, making new friendships and gaining social competence, learning to work as part of a team, responsibility and building positive values are just some of the life skills gained from participating in Camp Friendship programs.

Since 1966, campers have been able to experience a summer focused on responsibility, independence and making individual choices. We have over 40 activities so campers can create their own summer fun and adventure! See for yourself what Camp Friendship‘s summer residential camp in Virginia can do for your child. Contact us today! For more information call 1-800-873-3223.

Coed Summer Camp North Carolina

If you’re looking for a Coed Summer Camp Near North CarolinaCamp Friendship is your choice. Camp Friendship’s summer camp in Central Virginia is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains near North Carolina, and is for campers age 7-16.

While creating wonderful memories, your camper can gain independence, build social values and confidence. Camp Friendship, Virginia’s best coed summer camp near North Carolina offers several camp programs where camper’s develop a sense of accomplishment through the development of new activity skills and enhance their social growth.  We guarantee that your son or daughter will absolutely love our coed summer camp and that they will have the experience for a lifetime! They have the opportunity to try new things, For more information, contact us at 1-800-873-3223 or 434-589-8950 or email: info@campfriendship.com.

Tennis Summer Camp Virginia

Camp Friendship has a plethora of sports for kids to participate in at their summer camp in Virginia. Camp Friendship is a great place for your child to enjoy sports at camp in close proximity to Virginia. Camp Friendship is an overnight summer camp in Virginia for campers ages 7-16 and offers 6 different summer camp programs and unique activities such as tennis, a horseback riding program, color wars and a ropes course, to name a few. There is a wide variety of traditional summer camp activities such as soccer, volleyball, arts and crafts, camp fires and more.

Come visit or request more information. Contact us call 1-800-873-3223 or 434-589-8950.

Why the World Needs Summer Camp

With all the changes our world is going through, it’s important for youth development organizations such as summer camps to change with the times to continue serving young people and their families. The world needs the next generation to be more open to learning about each other’s views, beliefs, and cultures and summer camp is a special type of community where this can happen safely and easily. Summer camp is an opportunity for children to be exposed to the best of human character, where children practice being the best they can be and are encouraged by role models who have been carefully selected for just that purpose.

While there are many different types of camps and each one differs in terms of tradition and identity, they share the common goal of supporting and developing our youth. Summer camps add a spark of magic to a child’s summer: they are wholesome, inclusive environments purposefully designed to encourage self-expression and growth. At camp, campers always take that shot at a goal, comfortable in the knowledge that the people around them will cheer them on regardless of the result. Camp experiences stay with kids forever.

Sparked by the exciting adventures that childhood brings, Camp Friendship sets the benchmark for an exceptional summer experience with tried and true methods stemming from 50 years of experience. We are eager to be active partners in your child’s journey of wonder and self-discovery, and would be happy to tell you more about the benefits of camp in person, over the phone or via email. Our family-owned camp is available throughout the year for private camp tours – give us a call to set up an appointment and we’d be happy to show you around. See you this summer!

Coed Summer Camp Virginia

If you’re looking for a Coed Summer Camp in Virginia, then Camp Friendship is the right choice for you. Camp Friendship’s coed summer camp  is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Palmyra, Virginia, and is the perfect camp for boys and girls age 7-16.

While creating wonderful memories, your camper can gain independence, build social values and confidence. They have the chance to step out of their comfort zones and explore tons of new experiences, all at our judgment free camp! Camp Friendship, coed summer camp in Virginia offers several camp programs and loads of activities where camper’s develop a sense of accomplishment through the development of new activity skills and enhance their social growth.  For more information, contact us at 1-800-873-3223 or 434-589-8950 or email: info@campfriendship.com.

Tennis Summer Programs VA

Camp Friendship has a plethora of sports for kids to participate in at their summer camp in Virginia. Camp Friendship is a great place for your child to enjoy sports at camp in close proximity to Virginia. Camp Friendship is an overnight summer camp in Virginia for campers ages 7-16 and offers 6 different summer camp programs and unique activities such as tennis, a horseback riding program, color wars and a ropes course, to name a few. There is a wide variety of traditional summer camp activities such as soccer, volleyball, arts and crafts, camp fires and more.

Come visit or request more information. Contact us call 1-800-873-3223 or 434-589-8950.

Make New Friends at Summer Camp

IMG_9640One of the highlights of summer for children is spending a few weeks at overnight camp! Here, they have endless hours of fun and adventure that they can’t have anywhere else. So what exactly is the best part about going to an summer camp near Pennsylvania? At Camp Friendship, we believe that it’s all the lifelong friends that campers will make!

When looking at overnight camps, a lot of parent’s main concern is whether or not their child will make friends. But rest assured, by the end of the first day, your child will have met a ton of new people, and likely met one of their new best friends! A lot of campers make new friends by finding other children that have similar interests. That makes our overnight camp activities the prime opportunity to make new friends. Children have to communicate and work with each other to achieve a common goal. By doing this, children aren’t just making new friends, they are also gaining social skills, boosting their self-esteem, and also gaining self-confidence, all while having a fun time! Our safe and supportive summer camp environment is the perfect place for children to discover who they truly are. Therefore, making friends that support them and have similar mindsets. School can be a stressful place, therefore finding time to make friends can often be hard. Allowing overnight camp is the perfect place to make new friends happen!

So are you ready to sign your son or daughter up for the best summer camp near Pennsylvania next summer?! Then call Camp Friendship to get more information or to schedule a tour today at (434)-589-8950.