Hurtling towards the real world…
As we do every morning of the summer, we had our head staff morning today. Unlike every morning of the summer, this one was taken up primarily by discussion and updates on the planning for the last few days of the camp calendar. As of the time of writing, we have a mere 2 full days of camp remaining. Three more activity days, plus Festivus, a whole bunch of outstanding evening programs, more special events than you can poke a stick at, and what will be a very emotional end to what has been an incredible summer. As staff and admin, we are all contemplating how we will re-emerge into the real world - catching up on sleep, reconnecting with non-camp friends (just kidding, there are only camp friends…), re-establishing the habits and routines of the day to day, and saying goodbye for the next ten months to all the random-ness, familiarity, comfort, challenge, bone-tired but not gonna sleep, uplifting, bewildering, happy and heart-warming stuff that we pass our days with here in the woods. It is the definition of bitter-sweet, the ephemeral nature of the summer is part of what makes camp so magical - it would not be nearly so satisfying if it did not have a hard deadline - but it is so hard to say goodbye nonetheless. We find it a struggle, even after all these years.
So to for your camper, yet without the emotional coping skills of an adult, or the many summers of experience to know how to adjust to “the real world”. In just 2 days time, you’ll be receiving a teenager who at the least has had a wonderfully fun, exhausting, challenging summer of learning. They may have had a life affirming, world changing, summer, or series of summers. Some of you will be getting such a teen back for the first time from MTC (hopefully first of many). For others, this may be their last summer as they age out, with all the booming resonance that entails. For some campers, after a shower, a couple of favorite meals, and a good nights sleep, they will be back to the usual routine. For others, it may take quite a bit more time to get back in sync with the family, school, outside world.
We have a few hints and tips for how to help your camper get past their post-camp blues in a way that is positive and productive
- Give them a little space at first. They’ll tell you all about it (for the next several years for the real hard cases), but this has been their experience, and they may be a little jealous about sharing at first. They will though, and we apologize for the endless stories involving people you don’t know…
- Speaking of people you don’t know. Have your camper reach out to camp friends. We can help facilitate. Let us know if your camper doesn’t have someone’s full name, or means to contact them. If you are amenable to it, grant permission to staff who contact you to ask if they can keep in contact with your camper.
- if you do ask questions, ask open ended questions – what was the biggest challenge? What was your favorite aspect? What did you learn about yourself?
- Show them the camp website and photo gallery, photos are free to download.
- Help them make a plan to meet up with a camp friend in the not too distant future. This is a big one.
- Ask your camper to help you fill out the post-camp survey.
- Register early for next summer – you’ll save money and give them peace of mind knowing that the session they want won’t be filled before they get a chance to sign up.