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Ah, letters to camp… Letter-writing is all about communication.  And since I was a camper sometime way before 1990, things have changed… and how!

My loving parents used to pack us off to camp on a bus and that was the last they saw of us until visiting day over three weeks later.  That’s just the way they did things back before 1990.  Now parents can instantly send email, sometimes even receive email from campers, send and receive faxes (policies vary of course), see pictures of their campers, read blog posts, and even see videos!  Check out Julie Kraut’s guest opinion in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for more thoughts.

Parents become experts at picking up little hints about their kids’ experience from posted phots and blog posts… who is she standing next to?  Why isn’t he smiling?  Why is the other kid in so many pictures when my kid is invisible? Problem is, we’re not really experts at deciphering this, and believe it or not, there really is no way to know what your child is experiencing.  Heck, it can be hard enough to tell when your kid is standing right in front of you, let alone in a picture from camp (OK, I’m exaggerating a bit but you get the point).

This became even more clear for me recently when I visited a great camp that’s similar to my own kids’ camp.  As I sat at dinner watching other kids happily sing songs, dance and engage in many special camp traditions, I realized just how few of the songs, dances and traditions I actually knew from my own kids’ camp.  And because I didn’t go there as a camper, I realized that I will never be able to fully understand their camp experience as they do. But I can see that it’s OK for my kids to have their own special and unique experiences.  Those experiences are just a part kids’ growth into independent individuals.  When they choose to share, they will.  And when they don’t, I’ll have to trust the highly capable people that run their camp.   

Remember, camp is really all about your camper’s experience, not yours.  The bottom line: for your child, the most important form of communication is the letter, email or fax that you send them.

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