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How to Choose a Session for your Camper

PaddlersSo many options! We understand. Let’s start with some questions…

What does your child like to do in their free time? What are they most passionate about?

Look at the list of camps and either choose a specialty session, or discuss the variety of activities they will enjoy at camp.

Is your camper young and perhaps this is their first time away at camp? We suggest Genesis (a half-week of camp for younger children) or Epic – sessions specifically for elementary campers. Staff understand the needs of the younger, first-time campers and make every effort to not only introduce them to the variety of activities camp has to offer, but to alleviate homesickness. (see below)

Would they enjoy a smaller group and a challenge? If they are in 6th grade or above, they may register for an out-trip along the Appalachian Trail or the Delaware River or another local off-site trip.

Is your camper in high school and seeking leadership skills? They would enjoy beginning the leadership track- Pre-Leadership Training, Leadership Training Program or CREW. They can enter the leadership track at any point- no prerequisites required! Teens often find these sessions look great on their college applications and provide wonderful life lessons for collage admission essays.

What can I do to help prevent homesickness while my child is at camp?

Being in a new environment among new faces while at camp can lead to campers missing home or feeling anxiety. Helping your camper prepare for what they will encounter will help them adjust quicker to their time at camp. Here are some steps to take:

  • Talk your camper through what camp will be like: walking to the bathhouse through the woods, going to activities, picking outfits for each day, living in a cabin or tabin with other campers.
  • Give your child opportunities to spend away from home, such as sleepovers with friends or visiting family members. These can encourage independence and simulate camp life for them.
  • Remain positive about your camper’s experience. Let a camper know that homesickness is normal and provide coping mechanisms, such as letter writing or sharing feelings with others. Promises to come pick up a child if they are unhappy can stunt camper’s experiences, stopping them from connecting with friends and counselors.
  • Visit camp during the year! Johnsonburg offers a number of opportunities to come out and visit. We hold an Open House in the spring and are happy to give your family/future camper a tour at any time!

What happens if my camper is homesick while at camp?

The staff here at Camp Johnsonburg attend 2 weeks of training at the beginning of the summer. This includes training specific to dealing with homesickness. If your camper does encounter homesickness at camp (and studies have shown that most campers do!), their counselors will work with the unit director to help your camper.

Our staff will call you if there is any signs of extreme homesickness (trouble sleeping, not eating, or other signs). We do find that most cases of homesickness resolve themselves, but we will follow up with you if the situation continues. Feel free to share any concerns you may have with either your camper’s counselor or the Unit Director, either when you’re dropping your camper off, or during your camper’s session.

Check out some of these helpful articles!

http://www.njkidsonline.com/summer-camps/5-reasons-your-child-needs-camp-aca

http://longisland.mamasnetwork.com/2016/03/choosing-a-camp-avoid-these-mistakes/

http://www.njkidsonline.com/summer-camps/summer-camp-safety-aca