Posts Tagged 'Links to other sites'

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.

Great Letter-Writing Advice from Camp Greystone

What do letters to camp have to do with camp atmosphere?
As it turns out, plenty!

A great summer camp will work to create a specific type of atmosphere in camp.  Many camps believe that summer is a time to disconnect from email, cell phones, etc.  When sending letters, emails or faxes, remember that camps set their policies to reflect the atmosphere and values of the camp.  In other words, expect that policies will vary widely from camp to camp.

I come across many camp websites that offer thoughtful suggestions and guidelines for letter-writing.  For example, check out Camp Greystone in North Carolina.  They also had great advice about birthdays too – see the last blog post.

Among other things, Camp Greystone advises parents to:

  • Write letters by hand
  • Be creative
  • Take time to do a good job
  • Write often
  • Allow plenty of time for “snail mail” to work

You can read more on their site.  As you can tell from their tips, kids enjoy letters and letter-writing is an art that requires time and even planning.  Of course, that’s why I started this blog – to help parents write great letters to their campers.

A final note on logistics. As I mentioned earlier, while most camps allow and encourage hand-written USPS mail (aka “snail mail”), email and fax policies vary widely between camps.  Unlike Camp Greystone, most camps seems to allow email although many will charge extra for it.  Make sure to check with your camp to ensure that you fully understand their policies.

For more tips, see last summer’s post on letter-writing advice .

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Finally – Help for Parent Letter-Writers

Challenged to write great letters to your camper(s)? Help is here! The Letters to Camp Blog will help you to write better letters. More

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