by Jess Michaels
Sleepaway camp is just a few weeks away, and soon your child will be enjoying a summer full of sports, singing around the campfire, and making new friends. You, on the other hand, are a nervous wreck. Â You canât imagine your child surviving without you. As a parent and summer camp professional, Iâve talked to many camp directors about what they wish parents would do when their child is at camp. Here are the top seven things they say:
1. Focus on the positive.
Sure, youâre going to miss your child, but keep in mind why you sent themÂ to sleepaway camp. They are going to gain important life skills in a fun and caring environment, so try toÂ focus on that when you feel a bit anxious.
2. Stop analyzing online photos.
Youâve combed through the 200-plus daily photos posted by the camp, and now you are obsessing because your sweet girl wasnât smiling. Take a breath. Just because she isnât smiling doesnât mean she isnât having fun. She was most likely focusing on an activity and not posing for a picture.
3. Refrain from calling the camp office with every thought.
Camp directors want to have open communication and hear any concerns you may have, but please donât call the office every day with comments like, âMy child is missing a sock.â When your child is at camp, allow themÂ to solve their own problems or ask a counselor for help. Trust that the camp staff is taking care of your child and will make sure your camper has everything theyÂ need.
4. Donât make pickup deals.
Did the first letter home or that first phone call make you think your child isnât as happy as theyÂ could be? Keep in mind it takes time for children to adjust to a new environment. Offer positive encouragement, and let your child know theyÂ will have a great time. Making pickup deals will send a message to your child that you donât believe theyÂ will have a successful camp experience.
5. Donât start cabin drama.
Donât start a group text with the other moms in your childâs cabin to talk about what is going on at camp. Try not to get involved by asking how everyoneâs child is doing and if they have heard anything about yours. Feel confident that your child is doing fine and that you will hear from the camp director if they arenât.
Unplug this summer and put those electronics down!
Camp might just be the last frontier for children to unplug and learn the lost art of speaking face to face.
The use of technology in our everyday lives is important, but it is also important to take a break from it. This summer we will be launching our âUnplugâ initiative, to get campers excited about the outdoors again!
Camp is all about spending the summer with friends and learning new things every day. If kids just put down the electronics and embrace all that camp has to offer, they will see that everything they need to have fun, is right in front of them!
We will be emailing our electronics policy to our Chipinaw families in the next few days!
We canât wait to see you!
On Friday March 17th, the countdown to camp officially reached 100 days. To celebrate, we launched a photo competition that saw many of our campers send us pictures of themselves wearing their favorite camp gear to school. Everyone who submitted a picture was entered into a prize drawing to win a limited edition camp sweatshirt.
Our campers were really creative with this competition and we received so many awesome pictures! We had campers wearing their red chippies, sweatshirts, shorts, socks, sweatbands and even face paint in the camp colors.
The prize drawing took place on Friday March 24th and was drawn by our Camp Director, Michael Baer with the winners posted to Facebook and Instagram.
Congratulations to Dara and Noah and thank you for showing us your camp spirit. We will be presenting Dara and Noah with a limited edition sweatshirt at camp.
We would like to thank everyone who took part in our #HomeInAHundred competition and wore their camp gear to school. You all looked awesome! Below is a collection of some of the entries we received.
It is great to see that our campers are excited and counting down the days until we are all together againâŚHome at Chipinaw!
There are many traits that our amazing campers have, but being kind to one another is one of the most important.
Did you see our Chipinaw campers, Max and Jake Klein on the Today Show on Monday, November 29th? The twins starred in the #ShareKindness program, a regular feature on the Today Show. This program aims to recognize those individuals that go above and beyond to share kindness to others, no matter how big or small the deed may be. Max and Jake have founded a charity organization called KidsThatDoGood.com, that allows young people to help out in their local communities through fund raising and awareness projects. Recently they helped collect 191 meals for the Thanksgiving holiday. Max and Jake have done an amazing job and we would like to wish them luck for the continued success of their project. #KindnessIsCool
You can watch the Today Show segment featuring Max and Jake below.
Happy Halloween! Congratulations to Jordyn who has won our Halloween Drawing Competition in the Chipinaw Upper Camp category with her âcHIPPIE the Bearâ costume design and SidnieÂ who has won in the Chipinaw Lower Camp category with her âChippie the Bear as The HULKâ costume design. Â We will be presenting Jordyn & Sidnie with the Limited Edition clipboard and stationary set at the beginning of camp. Thank you to everyone who took part in the competition, your costume designs were awesome!
Chippie the Bear needs your help! He just canât decide what costume to wear this year for Halloween. Enter our Halloween Drawing Competition and you will be entered into our prize draw to win a LIMITED EDITION clipboard and stationery set.
Download a Chippie the Bear template and instructionsÂ and design, draw, and color in the costume that you would like him to wear for Halloween this year! Is he going to be a Super Hero, Witch, Haunted Ghost, Pirate or your favorite TV Character!?
Everyone who emails a picture and uploads to Instagram using #CostumeForChippie will be entered into the prize draw. A Winner for LowerÂ Camp (1st-6th grade) and UpperÂ Camp (7th-11th grade) will be announced on Halloween.
Email your picture toâŻfun@chipinaw.comâŻand follow us on Instagram – @campchipinaw1926
After a wonderful Visiting Day at Camp Chipinaw, we found ourselves with an abundance of leftover food and snack items. Instead of storing them, we decided we would honor the spirit of camp and use this as an opportunity to give back.
We packed up our all of our favorite snacks and foods and sent them off to our wonderful soldiers of the US Armed Forces serving overseas. In return we received a very kind message from our heroes:
The 4 crew size boxes arrived about 2 weeks ago. I spurred an era of euphoria that I’ve not seen in the front office for a long time. I’m pretty sure it was Easter, Halloween, and Xmas all rolled into 4 boxes. To say thanks would not be justice enough to the morale and happiness of about 15 people – most of whom have not had a day off in several months.
From all of here surviving such a long way from home, Mahalo and thank you.
Some of us are in one of the pics, the second is of the shelf behind my desk – keep in mind that this is after 2 weeks!
It warms our hearts to be able to show our campers the importance of giving back in such a special way!
Attending summer camp for many children is a major step toward independence while still having fun and making life long friends. Spending time in a phone-free camp encourages kids to make decisions on their own without parent advice. However, breaking away from phones and the constant contact is just as hard for parents as is it for children. A recent NY Times article, Phone-Sick At Camp, discusses the need for a phone-free summer at camp plus provides advice for parents on how to prepare for the summer.
At Camps Chipinaw and Silver Lake we believe a screen-free summer helps our campers develop soft skills they donât get to develop at school. They practice independence, teamwork, communication and problem solving face-to-face rather than through a phone.
You can read a portion of the NY Times article below.
Kids are on their phones in school, in restaurants, on vacations and even in bed. For many, sleepaway camp remains one of the last oases, largely untouched by technology. âCamp is a sacred space to unplug and be able to learn independence and social skills,â Dr. Uhls said. âItâs really important to put devices down and practice the art of face-to-face communication.â
Putting down the phone can be hard for the parents too, who are often anxious about separating from their children and are used to constant check-ins, whether they are in the next state or the next room.
With this constant communication, children seek their parentsâ guidance and emotional support even when they are not together, leaving fewer opportunities to develop their own confidence and internal compass for decision-making. Wendy Mogel, a clinical psychologist and the author of the parenting book âThe Blessing of a Skinned Knee,â tells the story of a college student at a salad bar who texted her mother to ask if she liked ranch dressing, rather than testing it herself. Such dependent relationships can rob children of the chance to trust and believe in someone else besides their parents. Creating bonds with others is one of the most important benefits of camp, and it is more likely to happen without the electronic connection to home.
To prepare to detach for camp, Dr. Thurber recommends families try one tech-free day per week over the month before camp, with no recreational screen time. âItâs good to practice some withholding from real-time digital communication and learn to not reflexively reach for cellphones,â he said.