I guess I grew up deprived. I’d never heard of summer camp until I was in 7th grade. I remember asking my parents about going to camp that year, and they did not even entertain the idea. No discussion.
Only a couple of years later, my younger sister did go to summer camp. One year she went to a primitive church camp and another year she went to gymnastics camp. I know she left gymnastics camp early. She couldn’t wait to leave and claimed to be starving. She was a picky eater and would not eat the meals served, instead waiting for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That was the end to her camp experience.
When my daughters were in elementary school the summer camp discussions began. Camp Kiwanis information was distributed at school and Camp Montgomery brochures were picked up at church. Friends were going to camp so of course, they wanted to go. Meghan and Emily both attended Camp Montgomery, the Presbyterian Church camp; but not together. Sarah spent a summer at Camp Kiwanis.
From my experience, I strongly suggest that parents forbid their children from communicating with them while they’re away at camp. Most camps don’t allow phone calls, email, or texts so electronic communication shouldn’t be a problem; but I believe no letters should be allowed as well.
Do not pack stationary, envelopes, pencils, pens, and stamps.
Let the camp counselor know that you do not want your child to write letters home.
Nothing good can come from these letters. If your child writes that he or she is having a wonderful time, you’ll wonder why you’re not missed. On the other hand, if you receive a letter detailing your child’s misery, you’ll also be miserable. The best solution…no communication whatsoever.
Here’s a letter I received from Meghan that proves this point:
I love you very much and I miss you. I’m crying right now. I just finished reading your leters. I want you to pick me up. We’re having terrible weather. Dad I’m burnt to the crisp. Holly has not rolled off the bed yet and it’s hard to keep both of them out of trouble. Sarah & Emily I’m going to try to bring you back something. I love you.
P.S. Dad I can’t wait to go biking.
Sarah’s camp experience ended a day early when I got a call that she was sick and needed to be picked up. This after receiving the letter she’d written detailing how much she hated camp and wanted to come home despite the fact that her older sister was her counselor and that her aunt and uncle worked at the camp and that her cousins were fellow campers.
I remember being disappointed when I didn’t receive a letter from Emily when she was at camp, but later I realized that was a much better plan. No letter. No bad news. No worry.
I’ve always heard no news is good news, and I’d say that’s the best plan when kids go to camp.