Hey, Camp Families!
Visiting Day is among the most emotional experiences at camp for both campers and parents. It's important to have some idea of what’s to be unexpected. As summer camp experts and authors of ‘The Summer Camp Handbook’ Dr. Chris Thurber and Dr. Jon Malinowski suggest, Visiting Day is the flip side of homesickness—it's a summer camp reunion filled with intense emotions. That's why I'm here to offer some tips and insights to help you make the most of this special day in the camp calendar!
First things first, mark your calendar and make sure you visit camp according to camp visitation guidelines, on the designated Visiting Day. Unexpected visits can disrupt the campers' sense of independence and even provoke homesickness. If you have any doubts about the appropriateness of your visit, don't hesitate to reach out to the camp director and get the green light.
The Varied Campers’ Reactions on Visiting Day
During Visiting Day, you may encounter a range of behaviors from your child, each expressing their unique camp experience. Let's explore a few examples:
The Fountain of Youth
These campers are bursting with excitement and want to share every detail of their camp adventures with you. From whirlwind tours to rapid-fire stories, they can't wait to show you how much fun they had. Embrace their enthusiasm and join them on this joyful journey!
The Poker Face
While these campers may seem reserved, it doesn't mean they didn't have a great time. Poker Face kids often find it difficult to say goodbye to new friends and the camp experience, leading to a quieter demeanor. Give them time, and they'll open up about their camp memories.
The Tearful Camper
Visiting Day can evoke strong emotions, and some campers may shed a few tears as they bid farewell to their summer home. It's a testament to the power of the overnight camp experience. Respect their feelings, ask if they prefer a quick departure or a longer goodbye, and offer support as they navigate their emotions.
These campers love to share their most dramatic camp stories, whether it's a thrilling adventure or a comical mishap. Listen attentively, knowing that all campers have a mix of positive and negative experiences. Get the full picture by encouraging them to share a balanced account of their camp journey.
Tips for Visiting Day at Summer Camp
Now that you're aware of the different reactions you might encounter, let's discuss some practical tips to make your visit to summer camp a successful one!
Stick to your promised arrival time. Your child will be eagerly anticipating your visit; Arriving on time ensures that you don't disrupt their camp activities or keep them waiting anxiously.
Take a Tour
Your child will love to show you around camp. Supporting campers on Visiting Day is important. Let them lead the way and proudly showcase their favorite spots and activities. Remember, this is their time to shine, so keep any critical comments to yourself and focus on celebrating their achievements.
Keep an Open Mind
If you have questions or concerns about certain aspects of camp, approach the topic with curiosity and seek explanations before passing judgment. Acknowledge and praise your child's accomplishments.
Share Sad News in Person
If there's any sad news to share, such as the loss of a pet, it's best to deliver it in person. Being there to provide comfort and support during difficult times is crucial for your child. Break the news early on Visiting Day to allow ample time for conversation and to address any concerns or emotions that may arise.
Arrange Alternatives if you can't Attend
In the event that you can't attend Visiting Day, it's important to communicate with your child well in advance. While they may be disappointed, make alternative arrangements for them to enjoy the day with a friend's family. This way, they can still partake in the Visiting Day experience and create lasting memories with their camp community.
Remember, Visiting Day can be an emotional time for both campers and parents. You may feel compelled to offer your child a ride home, but resist it. Encourage their continued camp experience and reassure them that you'll see each other again soon. This builds their resilience and allows them to fully immerse themselves in the camp environment.
For further insights and guidance on Visiting Day and other aspects of summer camp, consider picking up a copy of 'The Summer Camp Handbook' by Chris Thurber and Jon Malinowski. Their expertise and advice will help you navigate the camp experience with confidence and make the most of your time together.
Embrace the surprises, cherish the connections, and celebrate the growth and joy that summer camp brings. And remember, your child's journey at camp is a victory in itself. Thanks for reading, and happy Visiting Day!