Going to overnight camp for the first time can bring up so many emotions – excitement for all of the new activities that we are going to do, nervousness for the unknown, happiness for the freedom that we anticipate having, uncertainty of what this experience can hold. As parents, we want to tell our children that these feelings are real and valid but we don’t want to come across disingenuous. Our kids can often see through this charade immediately, especially if we are unsure ourselves how they are going to do.
While it gets somewhat easier when our children have been at camp before, there are other important factors for returning campers. There is the gnawing question of being accepted by their peers. Social media makes us all feel closer to one another and when used positively it can be a wonderful tool. Yet, the tween and teen obsession with Instagram and Snapchat give them a peek into “what they are missing” when they aren’t invited to the camp sleepover that “everyone else” has been invited to.
With each passing year, the physical growth of our campers is apparent the moment we see them walk through the gates of 18 Lucas Pond. The emotional growth of our campers may not be as apparent to the naked eye. It takes time to peel back the layers of what may have been a challenging school year or a change in their personal life. The older a camper gets, the more independence they seek. Our job as the adults at camp is to allow them the freedom to explore.
As we get ready for camp, I challenge everyone to stretch your limits. Talk to someone who you haven’t before or jump into an activity that may have seemed a bit scary to you. The Yavneh community is predicated on the theory of diversity and acceptance. I know that our community has a strong preponderance for openness – let’s keep that reputation strong for Kayitz 2018!