Homesick and Happy


day camper at poolWith Opening Day of our first session just two months away, we are working hard to fill camp as there are selected spaces available in certain age groups.  I have met many parents who are reluctant to register their child because they are afraid of homesickness.
Homesickness is real and it does exist, but most of us in the field believe it is not a bad thing for a child to experience. A child who experiences homesickness and works through it learns what they are truly capable of doing for themselves.
Homesick and Happy by Michael Thompson, PhD, addresses this head on.  “In an age when it’s the rare child who walks to school on his own, the thought of sending your ‘little ones’ off to sleep-away camp can be overwhelming.”  Thompson suggests that keeping your child at home deprives them of the major developmental milestones that occur when we let them go off on their own to have a transformative experience, and then return home with new skills.
Every year we see articles and blog posts about the impact of the camp experience. CNBC just posted an article by Kelli Grant that Summer Camp may Improve College Admissions Odds.  Cece Cole’s blog talked about how her camp experience prepared her for life in college in her post From Camp to College.  Jacob Sager recently blogged on Times of Israel about the 5 Essential Start-Up Skills Camp Counselors Develop.  Even the Humans of New York social media campaign featured a woman who shared that attending camp in the 1930’s was the happiest time in her life.
One of our favorite lines from a homesick camper is “I cried when I got to camp because I didn’t want to leave my mom.  I cried harder at the end of the summer because I didn’t want to leave my friends.”
Homesickness is real, and it does exist, but we know how to help kids work through it because every child deserves to have a transformative experience that stay with them as they go through life.