Camp offers such a welcoming, warm, and friendly atmosphere that most children adjust quickly. In fact, they may even be eager for you to leave as soon as the car is unpacked! Do not be offended by this, instead REJOICE THAT YOUR CHILD IS ADJUSTING SO WELL! If you have never visited our campus before, we do hope you will arrive early enough to have time to walk around camp with your daughter. In order for camp to be successful for all, it is important that parents take an active role (especially their first year of camp) in preparing their daughters before the camp session actually begins.
The following are some ideas to help make your camper’s experience a positive one:
- Talk about camp often --remind her of the new friends and fun activities that she will enjoy. Prepare your daughter for being away at camp by encouraging her to spend a night or weekend with friends or relatives prior to camp. If she is apprehensive about being away, explain that it is like an “extended pajama party” ... only they do go to bed at night! Also, explain to her that her counselors are there for her 24 hours a day!
Please tell her that she can talk to “Mrs. Susan or Mrs. Donna or Mrs. Cassie” anytime about anything! Questions do not seem too “silly” to our staff members, and we need for you to make sure she understands that! 2. Reassure your daughter that you will write often and keep that promise! Short and cheerful letters are best...it is fine to leave mail with us on opening day so that she will receive mail at the first mail call.
3. The more children know about Riverview, the more secure they feel. Seeing pictures of camp or watching the camp video helps the child begin to become familiar with camp surroundings and facilities. Explain to her that we will have a “camp tour” as part of our first afternoon...so she WILL SOON KNOW all about camp...in fact, let her know that you can’t wait for a personal tour on the day you pick her up from camp. If she is taking a bus home, explain that you are eager to hear all about the camp surroundings in her letters home or upon arrival home!
4. Meeting other girls going to Riverview from your local area will also help. If she is the only child coming from your area, help her to understand what a special opportunity this is for her to experience something that “no one else has done.” Either way camp will be an exciting opportunity for personal growth! 5. Please tell your daughter about your summer plans at home. Often, children worry that they are missing something at home ... assure them that it is “life as usual” at home and that camp is where the fun is. If parents are going to be out of town, the camp office will need the specific itinerary of when and where you can be reached.
6. Spend extra time with your daughter choosing outfits, rehearsing grooming habits, making the bed, folding clothes, putting dirty clothes in laundry bags, keeping their things in their space, respecting the space of others, hanging wet towels and swim suits on the clothes line, NOT USING OTHERS’ HAIR BRUSHES OR DRINKING AFTER OTHERS, etc. These situations do fall into place easily at camp, but affirmation from parents helps to successfully reinforce cabin life. 7. Have her “practice” taking a shower and washing her hair in the shower, if this is not her normal bathing procedure.
Above all, do not panic if your child writes a homesick letter to you. Even if you feel like jumping in the car and running to the rescue, RESIST THE URGE! Homesickness is something she will get over (and parents will survive too.)
Riverview is such an awesome place!! You will be amazed by all you can do here!! If I could have any wish, I'd go back to Riverview!!