Five Ways to Help Prepare Your Child & Yourself for a Vermont Camp Summer

Rest HourIf you plan to drop a camper off next Wednesday at Aloha, Hive or Lanakila, by now their trunk is probably nearly packed and you are almost ready to head to Fairlee.  Preparing your child for a camp summer means you’ve checked a bunch of items off your “to-do” list.  Name-tags on everything, insect repellent, sunscreen, headlamp, books for rest hour, stamps and stationery all go into the trunk. Sleeping bag, hiking boots, tennis racket, favorite stuffy.  Packing the tangible stuff is easy, but sometimes the intangibles, like homesickness, summer goals and communication with your child are harder to sort.  As you prepare your camper and yourself for an amazing summer on Lake Morey or Fairlee, here is a list of five helpful links to help you manage some of the intangibles!

  1. As you say goodbye to your camper, what can’t you do for your child?  Why will your child accomplish more at camp without you, than he or she can at home with you by their side?  From The Atlantic, eight developmental milestones your child must navigate on their own.
  2. What if my child is homesickWhat can I do about it?  The American Camp Association is a wonderful resource for camp families and here are two articles about how to prepare yourself and your camper for a possible bout of homesickness at camp.  When in doubt, call your child’s camp Director for reassurance.
  3. rest hour cardsWe know you’ll miss your camper, but have some fun!  We try to give you a taste of what’s going on at camp through our Summer Online photos.  Rather than encourage you to be obsessed looking for a photo of your camper, we let you know upfront that we post a smattering of photos each week, and while you might not see your camper in one of them, you’ll see evidence of the fun and magic that occurs every day.  This article from Time shares one end of the spectrum with parents constantly hitting the “refresh” button on the camp websites. Your child is unplugged, we hope you unplug a little bit too!
  4. Writing to your child.  Campers love to get mail!  The more mail they get from you the more likely they are to respond, and nothing, absolutely nothing is better than a handwritten note from your child.  The New York Times has a few suggestions for the best camp mail.
  5. What do you hope your daughter will bring home from camp?  The Center for Research on Girls at Cleveland’s Laurel School is a rich resource for information about girls’ development.  Before Laurel’s most recent graduation, headmistress Ann Klotz wrote on the Huffington Post about the intangibles she wanted to girls to learn.  Her list of 28 things girls should know is well-suited to a summer at Aloha Camp.  While written for girls, most of the items on the list would be equally applicable to boys.
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Laura Gillespie is the Director of Communications at The Aloha Foundation, an alumna of Aloha Hive and Aloha Camp, and has been a Horizons and Lanakila parent.
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