Archive for the 'Musings' Category



The Last Email

It was now 9:55 am on Wednesday, August 17, and the daily email was due by 10 am or it wouldn’t make the cutoff.

Type, type, click, click, send. Off it went. Seconds later, I received notification that the email to our camper had been received by camp. And that, well that, that was it. The final email letter of the summer. Our tenth summer. Continue reading ‘The Last Email’

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What Type of Letter-Writer Are You?

It doesn’t matter – your camper will love your letters!

My wife likes to write long, thoughtful and complete letters to our campers.  Me – I’m a get-to-the-point kind of guy – unless I’m writing a funny letter, in which case I become an author or a comedian with a long setup.  Read on to learn about the different types of letter-writers.     Continue reading ‘What Type of Letter-Writer Are You?’

A Father’s Tale

Getting Your Camper to Write Requires Cleverness – Or Does It?

A father’s ploy to get more letters.  If you wrote over a hundred letters to your four children at camp each summer, you might want to hear back from them every once in a while.  You know, a quick  note so you’d know your kid was OK.  Having fun.  Meeting new kids, etc.   Continue reading ‘A Father’s Tale’

7 Point Font & Other Acts of Desperation

Shrtr ltrs 2 cmp

By now, you’re a seasoned letter-writer.  Your letters to camp are masterful.  Funny.  No, hysterical.  Engaging.  Illuminating.  Pieces of fine art.  World-class prose.  On par with those of John and Abigail Adams.  But if your letters are too long, how can you shorten them?

Continue reading ‘7 Point Font & Other Acts of Desperation’

You’re Not Alone

Frustrated with letter-writing?

Let’s face it, this whole camp letter-writing thing does not come naturally in this age of 140-character spurts of insight.  Heck, putting pen (quill?) to paper seems downright, well, medieval!

And the letter-writing requirement only multiplies the longer your child is at camp (our kids spend 7 weeks) – and the more kids you have.  My poor mom wrote 4 letters 6 days a week.  She told me that she spent entire mornings writing them.  The worst part – the more she wrote, the less she had to write about (she couldn’t talk about her mornings after all!)

But it’s OK.  You’re not alone.  We’ve all been there (and if we haven’t, well then something’s not quite right).  Heck, I think of letter writing as a battle of wits.  I spend the entire summer trying to outwit my kids with clever, funny, witty stuff in each and every letter.  By this time of summer, I’m zapped!  Trying to squeeze humor out of routine is tough.  Inventing stories is hard.  It got so bad last year that I left the letter-writing to my dog.

Need ideas for more interesting letters?

Try humor or injecting interesting tidbits or mixing it up.

Although it’s not always easy, letters to camp is not a war or attrition.  It’s an act of love to your camper.  Inject love and humor and authenticity and you’ll have great letters to camp.

The Last Letter Should Never Be A “Z”

It’s hard to believe but this morning, I actually sent my last email for the season. I think I’m going to miss the morning rush to craft an interesting letter filled with humor, support and daily updates – all by 9 am, 6 days a week.

I’ll admit, I had to resort to some unorthodox practices… fill-in-the-blank and form letters, letters from my dog (some translated, some not – as in wuff wuff wuff); crazy dog adventures (the dog thing seems to come up a lot in my letters); new and amusing spin on my daily activities; barely legible 8-point font so that I could include material from my wife, my dog, my son and myself;  new jokes to include (see my last two posts 1 2), and a lot more. Yes, every day has been quite action-packed – before the 9 am deadline. And through it all, I worked hard to make sure that my letters – from first to last – never ended with a zzzzzzzzzzz!

So the last letter has been written for the season.  But summer 2010 awaits! I know you’ll want to be thinking about next year’s letters (which could number as many as 50), so we’ll continue to write through the “winter” months – the seemingly endless stretch between summer camp this year and next.  So when next summer rolls around, you’ll be more ready than ever to write well-crafted, supportive, meaningful, and humorous letters to camp.

And if you’d like to add your own advice, let us know by commenting below.  We’ll contact you so you can contribute a post.

@camp.com

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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