Preparing My Child For Summer Camp, Vol. 6December 4, 2013
Are you getting excited for this summer at Camps Kenwood & Evergreen? We sure are! We are so looking forward to spending the summer with our community – playing together, learning, sharing, growing, and especially getting to know our new campers!
Parents often reach out to us and say “I’m not sure how to prepare my child for summer camp.” We know that first-time campers and parents have all sorts of questions about what camp is going to be like, and how certain things work (like laundry and meal time and bunk cleanup and the bus ride up to Camp). So we have put together these answers to some of the questions new campers and parents seem to wonder about in anticipation of each summer. Throughout the year we’ll be posting them on our blog and sending then directly to our new families in packages, too! We hope that this information is helpful, and that it helps you feel better prepared, less anxious, and even more excited for the summer of 2014!
What should I bring on the bus ride to Camp?
The bus ride is going to be a lot of fun, and a lot shorter than you think! When you get on the bus a counselor will be there to help you find a seat. If you aren’t sure that you know anyone (remember, you’ll meet lots of campers at the New Camper Party!), you can ask him/her to help you find someone nice to sit with. Your counselors have a lot planned to help you get comfortable and meet lots of nice people. We’ll have some movies to watch, and there is a bathroom in the back of the bus.
Packing a snack or a lunch is a good idea, especially if you are traveling from NY, NJ or CT. All liquids should be in plastic bottles with re-sealable tops. Soda cans always end up spilling all over the bus and making a huge mess! Please remember that you cannot bring anything made with peanuts or tree nuts on the bus (or to Camp!). This includes candy. Please have your parents double- check that any food that you bring does not contain any peanuts or tree nuts.
If it will help you be more comfortable, consider bringing a small pillow. Also think about what you could bring to keep you entertained on the bus. If you like to read, bring a magazine or a book. Consider bringing a travel game that you can play with someone on the bus. An mp3 or CD player with headphones is also a good idea. Some campers enjoy bringing a pad of paper and things to draw with. Please remember, no video games and no cell phones, and please don’t bring too much stuff. You will have limited space on the bus, and we don’t want your belongings to get mixed up with someone else’s.
What if I lose or run out of something? How do I get it replaced?
It’s likely that you will need something this summer – more toothpaste or shampoo, a new hair brush, batteries, etc. You have two options. The first is that you can write a letter home and ask mom or dad to send you up what you need. The other is that you can order what you need from the Camp Office. To make a request, go with your counselor to the Camp Office (your counselors will show you where this is on the first day when you have your Camp tour. It is a small building in the middle of Kenwood & Evergreen, and it is where you will go for phone calls and to get your packages). Ask one of the adults in the Office for a Canteen Request Form. Once you fill it out the note will go to Deena, who will get you what you need within a day or two. If you need something immediately (like a new toothbrush or soap) the people in the Office will have some there for you, though it might not be the brand that you are used to. You will not need any money to purchase items through the Canteen. You have an account set up by your family. Please note that unlike many other camps, the Canteen is not a candy store or a place to get Camp clothing. It is simply for replacing your basic necessities!
You may be wondering why there are no phone calls for the first two weeks of Camp. We want to make sure that you get quickly settled into our community, and build as many connections as you can with the campers and adults around you. Over the years we’ve found that phone calls early in the summer can make it really hard for campers to do this. We want to do everything that we can to help you get comfortable at Camp, and holding off on phone calls seems to make a difference! You can still get emails and mail from home at any time, and you can write letters (your family will love to hear from you!)
Your parent or parents will have a scheduled phone call with you for some time at the end of the second week of Camp. We ask that you limit the call to 10 minutes, as many other campers will be waiting in line for their schedule phone call. During this first phone call, a counselor from your bunk will accompany you to the Camp Office. He or she will stay nearby you, but give you privacy so that you can say whatever you want on your call. When the call is over, he/she will take you back to your activity, and will also be available to discuss with you how your phone call made you feel. Over the course of the summer you will be able to receive up to 4 phone calls from home.
Please be aware that at Kenwood & Evergreen campers may not make phone calls during the summer.
After the first phone call of the summer, you may receive periodic phone calls from your parents. Please note that some campers do not like phone calls, as they take them out of the activities or time with their friends. You have the right to tell mom or dad that you do not need additional phone calls! If you haven’t had a phone call in some time, and want one, please make sure to tell your counselor. He/she can contact home and let mom or dad know that you would like to hear from them.
When and how do I get mail?
Mail is distributed 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday. After lunch one of your counselors will stop over at the Mail Room, which is between Scott and Phyllis’ houses . Every camper wants to see if he or she got mail, and usually at the exact same time! The Mail Room can get really crowded. Because of this we ask that campers let the counselors get the bunk’s mail. If your mom or dad sent you an email it will be printed out by the office staff and will be placed in your bunk’s mailbox. You might get a piece of paper with your name on it that says “Package Slip”. This means that someone mailed you a package. In order to collect what is inside of it you will need to stop by the Mail Room during Package Hours. The time to stop by will be written on your package slip. One of the office staff will open the package in front of you and make sure that any food, candy, drinks or gum is removed. Camp does not allow those items. There may be a line of campers waiting to get their packages. Please be patient with our office staff! They are our friends!
Will I have to take a swim test, and if so, when? Once I take it, what am I allowed to do?
We do have a swim test at Camp, but it’s so that we can keep everybody safe, and know who is swimming at which level. So during the first day or two of camp each age group will visit the Waterfront for a swim test. The counselors at the Waterfront are nice people, and will take small groups out to the docks to see how everyone can swim. The swim test typically involves swimming a couple of laps, and treading water for about minutes. We will want to see how well you can swim certain strokes, and if you are comfortable in the water. If you are not a strong swimmer that’s really OK! We have kids who swim at every level at every age!
If you have a swim card from your previous camp please bring it with you. The swim instructors want to know what skills you have worked on in the past, and this will help them.
Regardless of how well you swim, all campers and counselors must wear lifejackets whenever they are in a boat.
Was this information helpful? Are we doing all we can to you prepare your child for their first foray into summer camp? Please share with us what you thought of this posting, and if there are additional questions that you’d like us to cover in future blogs. And please make sure to share this information with your new Kenwood & Evergreen camper!
And be on the look out for our next volume of “Preparing My Child For Summer Camp”. In just a few weeks we’ll be posting in our blog, and mailing to all of our new Camp families, copies of the official Camps Kenwood & Evergreen Encyclopedia. It’s filled with pictures of every dog, director and building in our community, along with explanations of our trips, traditions, activities and more. It’s fun reading and designed to help our most inquisitive campers learn even more about living at Camps Kenwood & Evergreen in Wilmot, NH.
We invite you to learn more about the Camps Kenwood & Evergreen community by downloading our brochure.