When preparing for camp, there are many things to consider. If you are registered for camp, please refer to your Welcome Packet, which can be downloaded by logging in to our online registration system, for specific information regarding your camper’s program. Below, we have tried to answer the most common questions. If you have further questions, feel free to contact the camp office.
At first, I was afraid of sleeping a whole week away from home but Hidden Villa made me feel more comfortable.
– Tipi Camper
It’s normal for campers to miss home while they’re away from camp. At Hidden Villa Summer Camp, no news is good news! If you have not heard from your camper’s program head, they are doing great! If a camper is struggling to adjust, our staff will call you for strategies to better support your youth.
If you or your camper are concerned with homesickness, there are some key things you can do ahead of time that will help prevent intense homesickness and help your camper enjoy a full camp experience! The best remedy is a two-pronged approach:
(1) Prevent homesickness at home, before it starts
(2) Actively cope at camp, if natural feelings of homesickness reach problematic levels.
The best at-home prevention strategies include:
- working together as a family to select a camp, plan, and pack
- spending practice time away from home, such as a long weekend at a friend's house
- experimenting with the best coping strategies during this practice separation
- preparing pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes to bring to camp so your camper can write to you
The best in-camp interventions for homesick campers include:
- staying busy
- talking with someone
- remembering that you're not at camp for your whole life - just a few weeks
- writing letters home
- remembering all the fun activities that camp offers and doing them!
The most common mistake parents make is the Pick-Up Deal. It's normal for children to ask, "What if I feel homesick?" Tell your child that some feelings of homesickness are normal and help him practice coping before camp starts. But never say, "If you feel homesick, I'll come and get you." This conveys a message of doubt and pity that undermines children's confidence and independence. Pick-Up Deals become mental crutches and self-fulfilling prophecies for children as soon as they arrive at camp. If, after spending practice time away from home, a child is still very anxious about overnight camp, consider waiting a until next summer.
The Good News
When youth arrive at camp with a repertoire of coping strategies and some practice time away from home under their belts, they are ready for those normal feelings of homesickness. Sure, they'll miss home, but they'll know exactly what to think and do when it bothers them. Best of all, the staff at a high quality camp will be there to help. Nothing boosts children's self-esteem quite like overcoming a bout of homesickness and learning how good they are at controlling the amount of fun they have. Camp truly is a classroom for life lessons. This information was provided by the American Camp Association. Please visit their website for more details.
Are you worried you will miss your child while they are at camp? Like homesickness, this is very common! Here are a few strategies for those missing their camper:
- The best strategies to for missing your camper include:
- staying busy
- trying not to project your concerns onto your child; talking with someone
- remembering that your camper is not at camp for their whole life - just a few weeks
- writing letters or Bunk Notes to your camper focusing on the wonderful thing you are providing for your child; the opportunity to live and play in a new environment, gain independence and self-reliance, improve the ability to make new friends, develop the social skills required to live with a group of people you aren’t related to
Is your child nervous about not knowing anyone at camp? First, we believe that camp is a wonderful place to make new friends that often last a lifetime so you can reassure your camper that, because we do not accept friend requests, many campers do not know anyone else at camp. As a result, we spend time with each camp building relationships and teambuilding. This is an essential part of our program and our staff will do their best to facilitate opportunities for new friendships to blossom.
Is your camper worried about trying new activities? That’s okay! We foster an environment that encourages kids to challenge their comfort zones, but we will never force a child to do something they are uncomfortable with. Our trained counselors will support each camper as they interact with our animals or as they ascend the foothills towards their overnight accommodations. Encourage your camper to think of camp as a place to learn and try new things and we will make sure they feel safe and have fun.
Each of our programs requires different preparations for camp. For your camper's suggested packing list, please refer to your welcome packet, which can be downloaded from our online registration system.
Please do NOT bring the following items as they are not allowed on the premises:
- food of any kind
- hand-held electronic games, e-readers or cell phones
- candy or gum
- radios/iPods,CD/MP3 players of any kind
- anything in an aerosol can
- knives (not even pocket knives) or other
- jewelry or other valuables
- personal sports equipment
- cigarettes, alcohol or controlled substances