ymca camp lakewood camper with two counselors smiling

We get it - the idea of sending your child off to overnight camp can be daunting. Is it safe? Will they make friends? What if they get homesick? These are natural concerns, and you're not alone. So, let's debunk a few of those common concerns.

Safety First

Rest assured, camps prioritize safety. Trained staff, well-maintained facilities, and strict protocols ensure your child's well-being. It's like a bubble of fun, safety, and growth.

YMCA Camp Lakewood proudly holds accreditation from the American Camp Association (ACA). This accreditation signifies the commitment to rigorous peer evaluations, covering every aspect of our operation, including staff qualifications, training, and emergency management. These evaluations adhere to the latest research-based standards in camp operation.

Homesickness Hurdles

Worried about homesickness? It's natural! But camps are experts at turning tears into laughter. Camp counselors are trained to create a supportive and inclusive environment. They act as mentors, fostering positive relationships and ensuring every child feels seen, heard, and valued. Plus, the camaraderie built at camp often turns strangers into lifelong friends. Supportive counselors and a dash of distraction help homesickness fade away.

In one camp study, a whopping 83% of the campers reported homesickness on at least one day of camp. The YMCA Camp Lakewood staff makes a concerted effort to help campers overcome homesickness by helping them learn to accept the natural feeling of missing family and friends. With proper handling by the staff, campers, and parents, it can be overcome, and the camper can make a big stride in growing up.

Here are some things you can do to lessen homesickness:

  • Keep frequent letters or emails cheery and newsy in such a way that they will not make your camper homesick.
  • Try having your child do overnights at friends’ houses before coming to camp.
  • Pack a personal item from home.
  • Don’t tell your child that you will come and pick him/her up if it isn’t fun.
  • Don’t bribe your child by promising something valuable if he/she makes it through camp; this sends the wrong message! Going to camp fosters confidence and independence and can be an important developmental milestone.
  • Help your child think of things they can do to cope with feelings of missing home
two young boys smiling and posing for photo

Post-Camp Transition: Home Sweet Home

So, your child has returned from camp, sun-kissed and brimming with stories. The transition back home can be as crucial as the time spent at camp. Expect a mix of emotions from your child - excitement, fatigue, and maybe a touch of nostalgia. Be ready to lend a listening ear and allow them the space to share their experiences. Creating a positive home environment post-camp helps maintain the newfound confidence and independence.

Another way to help with the transition, is extending the camp magic by encouraging outdoor play, fostering independence, and incorporating camp-inspired activities into your routine. Think of it as a year-round adventure for the whole family. It’ll only get your kids more excited about heading back next summer! Check out a few ideas to keep that camp magic alive.

     1. Create Camp at Home

Bring the essence of camp into your own backyard - literally! Organize a scavenger hunt, a mini obstacle course, or even a camp-themed movie night complete with sleeping bags, tents, and bonfires. These activities not only keep the spirit of camp alive, but also provide great opportunities for family bonding.

     2. Stay Connected to Nature

One of the best parts of camp is how immersed in nature campers find themselves. Continue this connection by incorporating outdoor activities into your regular schedule. Whether it's a weekend hike, a family bike ride, or simply a picnic in the park, nature has a way of rejuvenating and bringing families closer together.

     3. Open Communication

Post-camp, your child might be bursting with stories and emotions. Create a comfortable space for them to share their experiences by lending a listening ear. Consider having a designated "camp talk" night where everyone shares their favorite camp moments.

     4. Encourage Decision-Making

Camp encourages children to make decisions, big and small. Foster this sense of independence at home by involving your child in decision-making processes. Whether it's planning meals, choosing weekend activities, or deciding on family outings, empowering your child with choices boosts confidence and mirrors the camp experience.

campers at ymca camp lakewood equestrian camp riding horses on trail

Trusting Summer Camp

In addressing common concerns, the key is to approach summer camp with an open mind, a positive outlook, and trust in the process. Remember, worries are natural and shared by many parents, but the benefits of camp far outweigh the initial concerns. Find the right camp for your child by considering their interests, values, and the type of experience you envision for them. Do your research, read reviews, and maybe even attend open houses to find the perfect fit. Get started by browsing summer camps at the Y below - with both overnight and day camp options!

YMCA Camp Lakewood

Summer Day Camp