A Parent’s Thoughts on Sleep-Away Camp Bunk Selection

Right now, many parents are contacting camp directors across the country trying to make sure their son or daughter gets into the “right bunk.” The only question is, what is the “right bunk?” What does that even mean? For parents, the purpose of sending a child to sleep-away camp remains unchanged — they want their child to make friends, enjoy the activities, learn new skills, and make an easy transition to living away from home.

Why Can’t School Be More Like Camp?

Yesterday, my fourth grade son came home from school downcast. It’s his third week at a new school, and I had encouraged him to find a friend or two to invite over to swim. He had asked two boys for their phone numbers, and the boys had said they were “adopted brothers” and written down a fake phone number before getting in different cars to go home. My heart broke for my son.

What Is It about Camp Friendships?

I see it at every major life event — weddings, graduations, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, any time family and friends gather to celebrate a significant milestone — that huge smile and even bigger hug when one very longtime camp friend sees another. The immediate connection and feeling of absolute familiarity take over, transcending time, geographic limitations, and the busy pace of our lives. Yes, camp friends are our best friends, one of the many, many benefits of the years a boy or girl spends at a summer camp.

Learning for Life

Camp is an experience that strengthens one’s life journey; it enables, reinforces, and facilitates one’s ability to learn for life. It is a process of risks and mistakes that are meaningful and reflective — not a series of grades, scores, and tests. It is not about the right or wrong answer but the critical-thinking process that reveals patterns and alternatives. Camp is about taking experiences and adding language that not only expands understanding of self but of others.

Why Kids Flourish at Camp

Campers often describe camp as their “happy place” or “the best two weeks” of their year. And, from my own observation, I’ve seen that kids and the counselors who work with them are obviously happy at camp. They smile a lot. They look relaxed. There’s a lot of laughter. So many fun things happen at camp every day that it’s no surprise it’s such a happy place for kids.

Recently I’ve read several books about the science behind happiness and the research that’s being done to determine the specific elements that cause people to “flourish” in life.

The Long-Lasting Benefits of Camp

Camp has become a part of the fabric of America — conjuring special memories of hiking, swimming, friendships, and adventure for generations. When children go to camp, they’ll likely come home gushing about the lifelong friends they’ve made, and the exciting adventures they had. What they probably won’t tell you about are the life lessons camp has given them — those skills that, if nurtured at home after camp, translate into a lasting self-confidence, an awareness of the importance of kindness, and a greater comfort in voicing their opinions. 

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

If you were looking for me in the middle of August, you wouldn’t have had a banana’s chance at a gorilla convention of finding me. I was incommunicado, far beyond any cell phone reception or Internet connection, without a television or even a radio, and no sign of a newspaper anywhere in sight.

No Greater Gift: A Grandmother’s Story

Last summer, my husband and I were designated to pick our grandson Corbin up at the end of his two weeks at Green River Preserve in North Carolina. We literally spent eight hours in the car with probably the perfect poster boy for camp — everything we hoped would happen did — he expressed compassion and confidence — pure joy and excitement — and I’m pretty sure he came away with all those noncognitive skills we want our children and grandchildren to develop.

Keeping Camp Costs Budget-Friendly

Camp is a life-changing experience — one that’s possible for every child and every budget. Even though the experience is priceless, paying for it doesn’t have to be!

“I’m a great believer that you don’t have to go to the most expensive camp to have a great camp experience,” said Phil Lilienthal, former camp director of Camp Winnebago in Maine and Global Camps Africa CEO. If you’re dealing with an experienced and caring staff of camp counselors, “you can have a program in a parking lot, and it can be great,” he said.

Worried about Sending Your Child to College? Camp Can Help!

So the moment has come! You are pulling up to the freshman dorm of the university that will be the home of your child for the next four years. Classes have been selected, a roommate has been randomly drawn and this is the moment of truth. So many questions pour through your mind: Will they make friends? Will they buckle down and work hard? Where will they end up heading after this? As a parent it is really easy to fret, isn’t it?