We’ve hosted tens of thousands of kids at Camp Lackawanna since the inaugural summer of 1962. Although we don’t know what will happen with each and every child on their first days of camp, we can assure you that the vast majority show the same funny behavior at the end of camp. As you arrive at camp’s end and look to hug them tightly, the kids dart from friends to new friends over and over to say their goodbyes before leaving. It’s this endearing behavior that will make you quickly realize just how impactful your child’s days at Camp Lackawanna truly are.
Sending your kids to sleepaway camp is one of many bittersweet milestones of parenthood: You’re happy to see them gaining independence, but it’s hard to let them go. The most important and hardest thing to remember is that your child is likely having the craziest, most amazeballs summer stay at Camp Lackawanna.
Will there be times that your child experience a feeling of being homesick? Of course, and it’s completely natural. Sleep-away camp is your child’s first independent step without you, and it plays an important role in their growth and development. Even a rocky start can lead to a beautiful experience. Even though you mean well, try to hold back from saying, “If you don't like it or get homesick, the camp can call me and I'll come get you”. That simple statement can sabotage your camper's experience. Acclimation can take a day or two, but if they know you are only a phone call away, the focus will be on a way out instead of adapting to camp life.
It's Your Time Too
Your child will be growing in many ways during their week at Camp. It’s time for you to grow too and let them fly. Make the most of your free time. Have special times with children at home or if your child or all your children are at camp, then do things you can’t normally do with children around. Go to a late night movie. Date night with your spouse. A spontaneous day trip. How about grown-up dinner plans? Or just relax at home and get some things done or work on a hobby you’ve put aside.
Use this time away from your child or children for yourself. And know that you won’t get back the same child when they return from Camp (in many good ways)! They come home wiser, they’ve had a taste of independence, they’ll have new friends, and stories to share with you. They will have experienced Camp Life. Your camper may even portray Camp Life at home by helping set the table, clean dishes, put their clothes away and make their beds. OMG, we can only hope – miracles do happen!
Need a little more assurance? The American Camp Association provides many informative tips on how you can prepare your child for camp and coping with homesickness.