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Messages For An Anxious Camper

Messages For An Anxious Camper

A camper smiles happily at summer camp while looking through a cargo net Read more of Sunshine’s camp-related posts at her website, Sunshine Parenting.

“Children want to be independent, and they realize that they cannot be truly independent until they beat homesickness, even when they have a painful case of it.” – Michael Thompson, PhD., Homesick and Happy
Recently I spoke with a mom whose 11-year-old son is coming to camp in a few days.  He’s nervous.  He had a negative experience at a one-week science camp.  He doesn’t think he can “make it for two weeks” and is worried he’ll be too homesick to make it at camp.   I chatted with the mom and gave her some key messages to communicate to her son.  She asked for them in bullet points in an email, and I thought there are probably others who might benefit from this same list, so I’m sharing this with anyone who has a child suffering from pre-camp anxiety. Before I share my list, let me say that if you are not a camp proponent and don’t plan on sending your child to camp, you should probably not read any further.  I am a huge supporter of camp and recently had a JC (Junior Counselor) tell me that “Camp made her who she is today.”  So, I think that camp is a great thing for building kids’ independence and confidence.  I have also seen many kids work through some pretty painful emotions at camp, so ... Read more

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May Parent Coffee

May Parent Coffee

"Getting Yourself & Your Camper Ready for Camp!"

Whether you’re a first-year parent or a seasoned GAC family, getting your camper and yourself ready for camp both physically and emotionally can be a daunting task…What’s a foam pad? Will my camper make friends? How do medications at camp work? What if my camper struggles to adjust to camp? Do I really need the Campanion app? What will I do with my free time when my camper is away from home? Bring your coffee or tea, your advice and your questions, and we’ll help each other get prepared for camp this summer!

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April Parent Coffee

April Parent Coffee

"Why Campers Can be Homesick AND Happy"

Are you worried that your child will struggle adjusting to being away from you and away from home? Come discuss the discomfort some campers experience and how you can help your camper not only work through separation anxiety but end up confident and happy about future away-from-home adventures (like college).

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10 Parenting Tips from Camp Counselors

10 Parenting Tips from Camp Counselors

At one time in their lives, many of the parents I know were camp counselors. Those same people have told me that their time spent as counselors was great training ground for parenting. Among other things, they learned to comfort, encourage, set goals, and resolve disputes — all things we experience daily in our lives as moms and dads.
However, not every parent has had the benefit of camp counselor training. In fact, most parents have had NO training at all. Perhaps they took a Lamaze class or two, but we all know that having the kid is not the hardest part! I’ve often lamented that all parents should be required to go through some training, at least the same training camp counselors do (a minimum of one week at most camps). Unfortunately, that is not the case, nor is it realistic. So the best we can do for those who were never camp counselors is offer a few tried and true tips from a few outstanding folks who were: 1. Practice catching kids doing the right thing. 2. Check in with each child one-on-one every day. 3. Establish fun daily traditions: share highs & lows at dinner or bedtime, do riddles, read a book out loud, play games together, collect family memories. 4. Sing and dance together ... Read more

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