Hello Dear Parents, Grandparents, & Guardians,
What a special time this is for your kiddos! There are probably so many thoughts and questions going through your mind. Below we’ve compiled a few Helpful Hints for Parents to address some of the more frequently asked questions that we receive:
This page cannot begin to touch on all of your questions or feelings. If you are a first time camp parent I hope it helps a bit. If you are an experienced camp parent I hope it helps you as well. Please let me know any questions or concerns. We are honored and thrilled to have your camper at Winnamocka this summer!
Sincerely from Fort Jackson,
Helpful Hints for Parents
~Lost and Found
First of all, it is best that you do not pack any items you would absolutely hate to lose! Keep in mind that campers do not need to bring any expensive clothes, shoes, beach towels, etc. for our summer camp activities. Lost and found items are a constant struggle at summer camps. Our counselors consistently remind campers to put their clothes and items in their trunk or bag after changing. Still, items seem to get lost when living with several different kiddos in the same cabin.
The very best way to ensure that your camper gets home with what he/she came to Winnamocka with is to put their NAME on EVERYTHING! It’s sometimes hilarious when we are asking campers if a certain item is theirs. They will stare at a pair of shorts and say, “Nope – not mine” until we can actually show them their name on the tag. It really helps! Since we always seem to have something left over after the summer, we donate any unclaimed lost and found items to a local charity on September 1st of each year.
At the end of summer, there is always a pile of campers belongings left at camp. This is an expensive waste for our campers (and their parents!) As a way to target the problem of lost belongings and a large lost and found closet, we are encouraging our campers to label all belongings.
We have partnered with Mabel’s Labels, a company with all types of labels that are colourful, indestructable and fun! With a special ‘Camp Pack’ available and also a larger Big Combo, your camper can label absolutely everything!
Go to http://camps.mabel.ca and select “Camp Winnamocka” in the dropdown; then place your order!
We look forward to sending campers home with ALL their belongings this summer!
Helpful Hints for Parents
Campers love to receive letters & email at camp. It is sometimes an easy way to make the camp experience even better. Try to remember when writing your letters to keep them very positive. It’s a good idea to express a great interest in how excited you are to hear about all the fun your child is having at camp. Following are a few examples:
Everyday you are not here I am so sad. I walk by your door and cry because you are not here. Our dog, Bingo, misses you soooooooooo badly. He is moping around the house acting so very blue. I can’t wait for you to come home. All of your friends dropped by yesterday. They looked like they were having tons of fun. They miss you too! Please call me so that we can talk everyday. I love you sooooooo much. Cry, Cry – tear, tear.
Mom & Dad
*The above letter probably shows how most of you might be feeling, however it is probably not the best letter for your camper to receive at camp. Sometimes a letter of this type might trigger a bit of homesickness. How about trying another way…
Wow! I was so excited when we dropped you off at camp! It looked like you will make some GREAT friends! I cannot wait to meet all of them on Closing Day! Make sure and remember absolutely everything you do because I want to hear ALL about it! Have you done the blob yet? Have you climbed the rockwall? How is Tom’s Swimmin’ Hole? I wish I could play on that! What a great thing this is for you to make new friends and have a blast. Tell your counselors and friends I said “hi!” Bingo and I miss you, but I can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures! I love you soooooooo much!
Mom & Dad
*This gets the message across that you love and miss him, however can you feel the excitement? Your camper is experiencing a new event and memory that is all his/her own. He/she will want to let you in on every detail & this will let them know how excited you are to hear about everything!
Helpful Hints for Parents
You can send your child emails through our Bunk Notes system. When you bring your child to camp, there will be a handout at the check-in table that gives you all the information for sending emails to your camper. Please understand that you will have to purchase bunk note credits in order to send emails. The easy step-by-step instructions are given in the handout, and they will help you get started! I know this may seem a little inconvenient at first, but please understand that it helps us here at Camp Winnamocka so much! The Bunk Notes saves us tons of time by sorting the emails by cabins for us. Also, for your camper’s safety, this system serves as a filter and only allows people to send emails if they have received the password from you! Please feel free to call our office anytime if you have questions about emails!
Helpful Hints for Parents
I know that this runs both ways. Many times a parent will get quite “childsick” (missing their kiddos) even more than the other way around. Remember, your child is kept quite busy with new adventures and activities. They are surrounded by new friends. They are closely tended to by very caring, loving counselors that will notice even the slightest onset of homesickness. You, as a parent, are not receiving this kind of support and might feel a little lost. Well, there are a couple of ways to help you through the camp experience!
CAMP IS A GROWTH EXPERIENCE! Homesickness is actually a powerful growth experience … You are giving your child an opportunity to overcome fears and anxieties SURROUNDED BY LOVING, CARING, SUPPORTIVE, AND TRAINED HOMESICKNESS EXPERTS. THIS IS AN AMAZING OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH!
First, write very positive letters or emails! This will help you feel like you’re in touch with your kiddo. Please remember – where some campers love to write to home and to friends, other campers will take this time to visit and hang out with friends. Don’t be worried or offended! This means your child is too busy having fun – is that such a bad thing?
Secondly, don’t get worried if you receive a depressing letter from your camper. I’ve received many phone calls from parents saying their camper must be miserable because they received a letter saying, “Come get me. I want to come home.” While this sounds really bad – make sure and call me and let me do some investigating. Remember – children write letters during rest time or bedtime. It is not the time they are playing on the blob, canoeing, or doing crafts. If a homesick episode develops it is usually during one of these times. I can get you in touch with many parents who received an initial letter like this, and then could barely get their child in the car to go home on Closing Day. Kids can be quite fickle, as you know. A mood can change from happy to mad or sad quite suddenly. This is all a normal part of being a child.
On the same note I want you to know that no homesick episode is taken lightly. The counselors talk with me about any suspicions and many times I personally care and talk late into the evenings with a homesick child. We do not let a child even walk around dragging a little bit – we will notice and we will care for your child as if you were here yourself! If I feel at anytime that I don’t think it is an episode we can make better I WILL call you! Do not worry about that! I hope your small glimpse of our wonderful team on Opening Day will give you some idea of how we will care for your child. And as far as homesickness goes… I would say, with our people (who make it the kind of camp I’m proud of), Winnamocka is the very best place for your child!
Thirdly, every evening visit our website and click on the “Camparent Newsletter.” You will be able to view quite a few pictures and read articles about the previous days’ events. This will begin on Tuesday of your camper’s session. We are so excited about this feature! Hopefully you will feel like you are a part of your kid’s experience!
Lastly, make sure and call us if you have any questions! I find it quite amazing when parents feel embarrassed about calling to check on their camper. I have your child for a week or more… that is what I’m here for. Many times I am out playing and supervising so leave a message and I promise I will return your call!