Mail and Packages (part 1)
As publishers are getting their materials ready to share with families about camp, I volunteered to write an article about camp mail and packages…here is a preview to half of the article that will be published this spring!
If your camper is off to resident camp for the first time, you need to know that campers LOVE to get mail! Here are a few tips about letter writing to be sure your camper’s mail brings out a smile instead of an onset of homesickness.
- Be positive in the letter; write about what you want to hear about on Visiting Day or after camp ends; a new song, friends made, an activity your camper was excited about.
- Acknowledge that you miss your camper, but try adding this spin, “We miss you, but I cannot wait to hear all about the exciting firework display you wrote about earlier; it makes me happy to hear about all the fun things you have to explore at camp.” It helps a camper feel good about being away and s/he now has a “job” to do at camp so s/he can tell you all about it and bring you some joy in the process hearing all about camp adventures.
- Make it a puzzle. On opening day of camp, find out who the other campers are in the cabin. Write a letter on a big piece of chart paper. Cut it up into the number of campers in the cabin and then mail one piece to each camper. They have to get together to read the letter. Even better if one letter takes an extra day, makes mail call THAT much more exciting tomorrow.
- Try to avoid things that may make your camper feel guilty for being away at camp, such as “the dog hasn’t come out from under the bed since you left,” or things that might make your camper sad to be at camp, like “we took the absolute BEST trip to Disney World last week while you were at camp.”
- If you are worried about homesickness the first few days, find out from the camp if you can leave a few pre-written notes for mail call that first week. Write positive, encouraging notes based on the conversations you had before camp; put a sticky note on the envelope with a delivery date and clandestinely leave them with the administrative staff after your camper is settled into the bunk.
- Mail is popular, but kids are busy. It’s better to write several short letters than one VERY LONG letter. Campers enjoy getting the mail, but don’t want to spend hours reading it. They want to know you’re thinking of them, but also want to get to the fun with new friends.