Hey, Camp Parents!
Last week I posted about sending emails to your camper—when it’s appropriate and how to write a good one to your camper. Today’s post, the final installment in our camp correspondence series, concentrates on the two least-used forms of communication during your kid’s summer camp stay: phone calls and care packages. Let’s talk about the telephone first.
As discussed in last week’s post on email, the same is true for phone calls; all camps are different with differing views on allowing their campers to talk to their parents over the phone.
Some camps allow phone calls once a week, believing talks with parents to be helpful and supportive. But most camps discourage contact by phone and ask that calls are saved for rare emergencies. The popular philosophy is that the sound of a parents’ voice can stir a deep longing for home which is often detrimental to the chief goal of camp—independence!
Neither philosophy is wrong, but talking on the phone—an immediate means of communication—hinders independence while other means of communication (i.e. letter-writing) take whole days to be sent back and forth and, thus, foster independence—and support too! If your child’s camp does allow phone calls, try to keep it to a minimum so your camper gets the most out camp.
CampMinder.com or Bunk1.com are great online services that help parents schedule time to talk with their campers by way of phone. You can learn more about these services in our post from last week.
Campers have been known to get boxes of goodies like fun toys, cool clothes, favorite magazines, and other gifts from their parents. Care packages certainly make a kid feel great, but no parent should ever feel obligated to send one to their camper. As camp experts Chris Thurber and Jon Malinowski say in ‘The Summer Camp Handbook’, “Camp is a huge gift in itself.”
Should you decide, however, to send a care package to your camper, it’s important to follow the camp’s policy on what items campers can have. Keep in mind that your camper is part of a group. Here are some things to think about when you send a care package.
Don’t send anything too big. A ridiculously big care package may be funny to other campers and embarrassing to yours. Remember, the point is not to spoil your child, it’s simply to put a smile on their face and remind them that you’re thinking of them.
Send only what the camp allows. Some camps allow campers to receive food, candy, and gum. Others do not. Food can be problematic as it attracts animals and bugs. Without proper storage, food rots and becomes a health hazard. Don’t put your kid in an awkward situation.
These are great care package items—especially things that your child can share with his fellow campers like board games, Frisbees, playing cards, and fun reading material like MadLibs, Choose Your Own Adventure books, and comics. Other good items that your camper won’t have to share are a shirt, family photo, a novel, or a small stuffed animal.
So that’s all for our June series on camp correspondence. I hope these posts have been helpful for your camper’s upcoming summer camp experience. As always, thanks for reading.