Assessing Camp Readiness & Addressing Homesickness at Alpengirl
Are You Ready? Parents and campers need to evaluate their camp readiness; the camp experience affects both campers and parents and both need to be ready for overnight adventure travel camp. Here are some questions to ask yourself that may help you determine your camp readiness:
- Has your daughter slept away from home before, at a relatives or friends house? Was it successful?
- Was it easy or hard for your daughter to be convinced to sleep away and then to stay away the whole night?
- Can your daughter take care of herself for the most part?
- Does your daughter express an interest in attending camp?
- How much persuasion is needed to convince your daughter to go to camp or to a specific camp?
- Does your daughter generally sleep through the night?
- Is your daughter able to ask for help or state her needs when she has a problem to adults?
- Does your daughter rarely wet herself at night or during the day?
- Is your daughter able to express her feelings in words reasonably well?
- When your daughter is upset, does she eventually ask for and accept help?
- Does your daughter recover from setbacks reasonably well?
- Has your daughter started taking a new medication or had an emotional setback just before camp starts?
- Are you and your daughter comfortable with the communication and cell phone policies during camp?
- If flying to camp, are you and your daughter comfortable with the airline policies and camp procedures regarding minors flying without an adult?
Prepare for Camp
Both you and your daughter have determined that she is ready to go to camp, but you still worry about her getting homesick. Here are some things you could do with/for her to help mitigate any homesickness that might creep up on her while at camp.
- In some cases homesickness stems from nervousness about one activity, like backpacking or rock climbing. Go over all of the camp’s activities with your daughter so that she knows what to expect, perhaps putting more focus on the activities or situations she may be more nervous about.
- Have “practice sleepovers” before camp by letting your daughter sleep over at friends’ houses for consecutive nights.
- Discuss what camp could be like and consider role-playing certain potential camp situations that your camper may be nervous about or hasn’t considered yet.
- Pre-write letters to be distributed to your daughter throughout camp. Provide these letters to Alpengirl ahead of camp as mail cannot be received during camp.
- Send her off to camp with one or two addressed, stamped envelopes and paper for her to write letters to you.
- Don’t bribe your daughter to come to camp. This sends negative messages and if you are resorting to bribing, she is probably not ready.
- Pack a personal item from home that will make her feel more comfortable.
- Talk to your daughter about being away from home for the camp’s duration. Let her know that you will miss her and that you know she is a strong girl who can go away to camp and enjoy it.
Homesickness at Camp
Homesickness is completely normal and it’s not unusual for campers to experience a few days or bouts of homesickness near the beginning of camp, before the fun activities start and before they have really solidified new friendships.
Alpengirl’s girls adventure camps are appealing to girls who are ready to try a low-pressure adventure camp for the first time away from home. Alpengirl camp is a great place for girls to work through the challenges of being away from home because they are constantly busy with games and activities and are surrounded by a family-like group of new friends. Alpengirls come away from camp feeling accomplished in the challenges of being away from home, outdoor tent living, and reaching high peaks and lakes. They make many new friends and have increased endurance levels and positive self-esteem. Alpengirls are inspired!
Camp Friendships ~ Fun Together!
For most girls, Alpengirl camp is a totally new kind of camp, girls are a long way from home, without a friend or family member and sleeping in tents and living outdoors for an extended period of time; you can expect a few days of adjustment in gaining personal comfort, becoming more resilient and making real bonds with others. If your daughter gets homesick at camp there may be a few tears, a stomachache, and declarations of missing home and family and sometimes a desire to call home or return home. We commonly see homesickness creep in at night before bed and in tents, we see homesickness exacerbated by nervousness with an upcoming backpacking trip or activity that they have a fear of and are not sure if they can do. Also, if girls are not feeling like they have bonded with new friends or if perhaps they feel like there are “no other girls at camp like them” homesick feelings can be intensified. There are less than 12 girls in a group at camp together, so, it’s a small and personal group and feelings are easily shared and made better or worse together as a group. It’s not uncommon for homesickness to become contagious in teen girls groups of this size and personal proximity and closeness. It’s also not uncommon for girls to bond over homesickness and help each other get through it and rise above it and have fun. Lifelong friendships can stem from one homesick episode.
Camp Staff Caring for Homesickness
Helping to Alleviate Camper Homesickness