Sending your child off to camp for an extended period of time can be a difficult experience for both you and your daughter. Here are some tips from moms and dads who have previously sent their children to SPIRIT that might make the event a bit easier for both of you.
"Mail a package or letter to your child a week before camp begins."
Mailing a letter or package to your daughter at camp days before you actually drop your child off will surely bring a smile to your daughter's face that first day when mail is delivered to campers. Otherwise, your child could feel left out and homesick.
Mail time is highly anticipated by those who attend camp, and as parents of campers who have attended camp before know, it takes awhile for mail to be delivered to the hills of Connecticut. To make sure that your child receives a package from you during the early part of their camp stay, you've got to mail a package well in advance of when their camp session is scheduled to begin.
Remember, it can be hard for those at camp who receive nothing for days while others around them are receiving letters and packages from loved ones. Also, don't think you're off the hook after mailing that first item. If you want to avoid any heartache, mail early and often. Letters from home, family photos, and artwork from siblings are often used to decorate the walls of each camper's room.
"If you think your child will be homesick while at camp, send her with something that can help her count the days down until she will see you again."
Although our daughter was very excited to be going to SPIRIT, she didn't know the other campers and we knew that staying away for two weeks would be difficult for her. We decided to send her to camp with a carton of individually wrapped chocolate milk drinks (her favorite). She had one drink for every day that she was going to be at camp. Each night she got to have one of her drinks while she was hanging out in the dorm before bed. She knew by the number of drinks she had left how many days it would be until we arrived to pick her up. Sounds like a little thing, but those chocolate drinks were a big help to her as she fought off her feelings of missing home that first year. The following year, she didn't need the drinks, but she still wanted them...
"Digital photos printed out on paper are a great way to decorate the wall space around your daughter's bed in her dorm room and to remind her of those back at home."
Walking in a dorm room the first day of camp is a lot different then seeing it any other day. Campers bring things from home to make their dorm rooms cozy, like framed photos of family members, stuffed animals, special pillows, etc. The campers also tend to decorate the walls with all sorts of things, like posters, pages from magazines, and various types of artwork.
Well, when we were rushing to finish packing before heading off to camp last year, I realized that I did not have any recently taken framed photos of family members that I could send along with our daughter to camp for her to place on the desk in her dorm room.
I had digital camera though, so I ran around to everyone in the family (and grabbed a couple of neighborhood friends while I was at it) and asked them to make silly faces while I took a snapshot of them. Then I loaded them onto my computer and printed out a copy of each on 8.5 x 11 inch paper.
The prints were black and white, nothing fancy, so we grabbed some colored construction paper and pasted the photos onto the paper to brighten them up. When I dropped my daughter off at camp, we hung the photos all around her bed.
The first letter I got from her talked about how everyone LOVED her photos. Ends up that the photos were often the topic of conversation as campers came into visit and asked her about the people in them.