Many children miss home when they are at camp. You can help by writing often, being positive, supportive, and conveying a genuine feeling of happiness regarding your child’s stay at camp. Please encourage your child to stay at camp. It also helps to avoid using the term homesick because it gives the impression that the child may be sick.
Ninety-nine percent of missing home is gone by the third or fourth day of camp, but because the mail in Wimberley is slow, if your child is missing home, you might receive letters indicating this well into the second week of camp even though the feeling has passed. Please look for up-to-date pictures of your child to see how they are doing, or use our email and response system to get a faster response time.
Here are a few suggestions to help prevent homesickness:
Have your child sleepover with a friend or family member. (Warning: Do not try to simulate the amount of fun they will experience at camp. It’s not possible!).
Talk to your children about what their new home will be like, including their “bedroom” and “dining room”. If there are questions we can answer to facilitate this conversation, please ask!
Send a letter to your camper ahead of time, so there’s mail waiting for your child on the first day of camp.
Instead of telling your child, “We will miss you” try “I know you’ll have a great time at camp” or “We are so proud of you for going to camp on your own”. If you were a camper yourself, share some stories about your own experience, including how you overcame homesickness.
Pack a few personal items from home, like a favorite stuffed animal and/or family picture.
Don’t bribe your child to enjoy camp; the real reward will be your child’s newfound confidence, independence, and friendships.
Discuss with your child the need to trust and confide in their counselors and camp staff when they need someone to turn to. It is important for them to know that the staff has their best interests at heart and that you (as parents) trust them as well.
Our staff is trained in how to handle bedwetting issues. You can inform us of a bedwetting issue in your camper’s medical form; we will automatically inform our staff and put the camper on a bottom bunk bed. Our staff knows that bedwetting can happen and are taught to be discrete and sensitive in such cases. We understand the huge need for privacy. Counselors will make sure the camper’s sheets are washed while the campers are not in the cabin.
Participation and Trying New Things
CYJ encourages all campers to do all activities, that’s why they’re at camp! We understand trying new things can be a little scary or doing things that are not your first choice might feel less exciting. However, we know that jumping into the action and having fun with your friends is the ultimate goal. We suggest you speak with your camper before the summer to encourage them to try new things.
Camp is all about trying new things in a safe and comfortable space. We follow the “challenge by choice” mentality. This means that we strongly encourage campers to try new things at camp, as long as they feel comfortable enough to choose the challenge. Through this, we have seen campers ride bikes for the first time, rock climb, shoot an arrow, and so many other firsts.
Tell them you are excited to hear about a new game or a new activity they now enjoy - if your kid comes home begging to continue juggling lessons or to help you cook in the kitchen, you can blame us.
CYJ is a strong, vibrant, beautiful community and the friendships that blossom at camp are second to none. Camp has a lot of different personalities each summer and we strongly believe any can “find their people” here.
Talk to your camper about being open to new people and being respectful of others’ space. Meeting someone for the first time and immediately living with them can be challenging but it provides our campers the chance to truly learn what it means to create and be a member of their community.
Our final tip is to go over the camp rules with your campers! We know our rules are simple, and sometimes feel intuitive but we have learned that setting clear expectations for campers helps them be successful. We encourage reviewing the rules every summer so your camper is clear on the do’s and don’ts of camp. We will go over them again at camp but when we partner together, our message is much better.