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Do S’mores Cure Homesickness?

Ah, yes, the age old side effect of summer camp. Homesickness is more prominent in first-time campers, however a seasoned camper may experience homesickness depending on what is happening in their social or home life. Homesickness even strikes some parents! Home is where the heart is, and when yours is at camp, you’re bound to worry! We hope you’ll find solace in knowing you and your camper are not alone. We don’t wonder if someone will become homesick each week; we count on it. We are used to it, but that doesn’t mean we take it lightly. Overcoming homesickness is a key stage in development and is one of the major benefits an overnight camp provides. Our staff is prepared to work with your child to ensure they feel safe, heard, cared for and included. 

“I want to go home.” “Can I call my mom?” “Did my parents call, I know they’re probably worried about me. I should probably check in with them.” “I’m supposed to call or text every morning and evening.” “I hope my dog is doing okay.” “How many more days?” “I don’t want to stay the night, can I just come back during the daytime?”

Many of these questions are surface responses to underlying feelings of insecurity due to things such as: I miss my friends/family/pets, I’m over-stimulated or I’m tired, the food and beds are different than what I’m used to, I’m not getting along with a camper, the rules are different here than at home, I’m worried that my parents are worried, I don’t feel safe due to the difference in environments compared to my house, I miss my video games and cell phone, I haven’t meshed with my peers yet, I haven’t found a favorite activity yet, I refuse to try something new because it is different, and so on.

WMC staff is ready and prepared to help campers through this difficult time by ensuring they feel heard, problem solving and making sure they are safe and included. 

What can YOU do to prevent homesickness?

Start the Camp-versation!

10 Conversations to Have Before Camp

Below is a good article with a few tips about how to cope with homesickness.

Coping With Homesickness

Communication:
We encourage strong communication between the camp and its guests and their parents. You can call the office or e-mail us with questions. We pride ourselves on our communication amongst staff so we recommend you contact the office directly rather than counselors as it could disrupt the flow of the day for your camper as well as the rest of the campers.

The campers have access to the office phone if needed and most of the staff carries cell phones.

Parents are encouraged to follow our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or check our photo streaming on our website to see what’s going one each day. It is difficult to get photos when you are the ones leading the events, but we try our best to keep you in the loop.

Letters from home: We highly recommend a letter from home. If you’d like to send letters to your camper, we recommend sending them a week in advance or leaving them at registration to be handed out on designated days during meal time.

You can do this with e-mail as well and we can print it off.
If it’s to be read by your camper, make the subject “Letter From Home.”
If you’re checking in with staff about your camper “Curious Parent.”

CONTACT

E-mails can be sent to: [email protected]
Office Phone: 620-767-5165

Director Phone: 785-218-0230 (Justin Whittaker)
Fax: 620-767-7244

If you are viewing this on your cell phone, tablet or laptop, there is a slight chance you may not like the following article, but hear us out!

A new trend at camp, WMC staff have been talking to the tops of kids’ heads more and more. With their faces pointed down they’re missing out on an entire world of camp above and around them. An exaggeration of course, but not by much. Having a phone near by is like trying to ignore a new mosquito bite. Even if you’re not scratching, you will do so subconsciously and that itch is always there. Comparing mosquito bites to cell phones, that’s a new one. 

For those returning to camp, you know that for year’s we’ve had a policy stating “no electronics at camp.” We used to allow campers an hour each day to have their cell phones during Camp Sore. However, if the phones did manage to get checked in, they are often not returned after the first camp store and become a distraction during the week and at night in the cabins.

Our Mission.
Being a summer camp, it’s our job to help kids connect with nature and each other. We want to build lasting skills and forge lifelong memories. This IS doable even if they aren’t saved on Instagram.  and to be good role models in doing such. As part of that initiative, we are no longer allowing phones, laptops, tablets, ipads and other electronics at camp. If a camper would like a picture taken they can ask a counselor, bring a digital camera/disposable camera, or use the camp camera we will have passed around during the week.

We strongly believe this will enhance the Camp White Experience and provide a stronger community and a needed break from the devices that we all, myself included, rely on so heavily each day.

Please read the letter below adapted from another Camp that describes our position and plan with cell phones. If you have questions or concerns let us know. 

Cell Phone, WIFI and Small Electronics Camp Policy – (Adapted from French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts) http://frenchwoods.com/cell-wi-fi-electronics-policy.htm

“Every season parents call to voice their concern that their children want to bring their iPhones, smart phones, ipads, iPods, kindles or laptop computers to camp. 

Not only are cell phones and other electronics expensive and can get stolen or lost, but also their usage can interfere with and even sabotage a child’s overall experience at camp – as well as others. A camper that spends so much time immersed in technology or communications may do so at the expense of getting to know fellow campers and counselors. Summer camp offers a great opportunity to learn about and navigate social situations while not being constantly connected to and immersed within a digital/virtual world. 

 

In the past, we have tried to accommodate those requests but found that personal WIFI holds too much temptation and campers would be found checking emails and texting, using instagram etc. while walking to activities, during classes or evening performances. All of this is counter productive to camp life and cannot be tolerated.  Perhaps most importantly, a cell phone represents a tether to one’s parents and friends from home and may serve as an impediment for a child to learn how to solve problems on their own in what might otherwise be a structured and supportive environment for growth and independence.

The phone or laptop or ipad becomes a vehicle for all sorts of online communication, instant messaging, and viewing. Counselors monitor interpersonal social interaction at camp to prevent bullying and so forth. However, online bullying can occur and staff would have no way of monitoring the potential negative effects that could be brought into the camp world from the digital world.

This year, we enforce a no cell phone usage, no WIFI policy at camp. We will have laptops in the main office to be used for e-mailing in and out of camp. With permission, a camper can use the program office WIFI, including after activity hours, to do school related projects/homework/research, SAT/ACT study, etc. Additionally, we understand that your children might be more comfortable having their own music close by and suggest an inexpensive MP-3 player. 

To reiterate, we are, as strongly as possible, asking you to have your children leave this equipment at home.  WHITE MEMORIAL CAMP CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE, FOR ANY REASON, FOR THE LOSS OR DAMAGE TO YOUR CHILDREN’S ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT including but not limited to cell phones, laptops, tablets, kindles, cords and chargers etc.    

We all are looking forward to a fun-filled, safe, and productive summer without any of the worries.  We appreciate your cooperation.”

We hope you’ll join us in unplugging from daily routines in hopes of reconnecting with the simple things. Disconnect to Reconnect at Camp 2017. This may bring up questions about communicating with your camper or Homesickness. Stay tuned for the next post for answers to help with this! 

New Website

Wow, it’s done! White Memorial Camp has a new website which includes our own on-line registration abilities. Registering on-line will be much easier than it has been in the past. We hope you’ll let us know how it’s working for you. As always, the credit card processing is very safe to use, and of course, we never share your info with anyone else.

Watch for the content to grow on the website. We’ll keep expanding from here with lots more information about camps, camp rental, and other events you might want to know about. Keep checking back and offer your suggestions for fun things to post.

New Summer Camps in 2015

For Youth and Families.  It’s going to be a fun summer at camp with a couple more themed camps. Have you ever wanted just a little more adventure at camp? Well, this is your summer. We’ve scheduled two sessions of ADVENTURE CAMPS, one for younger youth and one for older youth. We’ll camp out in tents, cook a bunch of meals on an open fire, go exploring in kayaks outside of the cove, take some big hikes to explore our beautiful property, and learn more about living in our outdoor setting.

We are also doing another CREATIVE ARTS CAMP. It’s our second year for this…just because it was so much fun to learn some theater techniques to create a performance, paint big paintings, dance in beautiful colors, try our hand at printmaking, and learn new drawing skills. We are lucky to have professional artists and actors on staff at camp that week to bring us a high level of creative education not always available in schools. We’ll still do all the fun camp stuff, too…like swimming, kayaking, archery and roasting marshmallows over campfires. Don’t miss this amazing week.

In addition to FAMILY CAMP, now campers can bring their grandparents to camp for GRANDPARENT & ME CAMP. Won’t it be fun to have grandparents getting to have quality time with their grandchildren? Held on Labor Day weekend, Grandparents and Me Camp will be a great way to spend the weekend. Camp runs Friday evening through Sunday. You’ll still have Labor Day open.

For Adults with Developmental Disabilities: Last summer’s camps for adults with a wide variety of disabilities were overflowing with happy campers. To accommodate the interest, we’ve added another camp this summer–MEADOWLARK CAMP. When trying to name this camp, we contacted longtime camp volunteer, Glenda Bower to educate us on how DDA camps got their names: Arrowhead, Buffalo, and Cottonwood. She said the names were created because the camps used to be called “A Camp”, “B Camp”, and “C Camp”. They didn’t want anyone to think that “A Camp” was better than “B Camp” or “C Camp”, so they gave them word names. Now, we know that Meadowlark doesn’t start with a D, but we thought it very fitting since the Meadowlark is the state bird. Now, you know more of the history of the DDA camps that were started just a few years after the opening of camp in 1963. It’s a ministry we are truly engaged in and proud of.

Flint Hills Wisdom Keepers Gathering

teepeeWhite Memorial Camp is honored to host the Flint Hills Wisdom Keepers Gathering again this year. Join with Native American elders from different tribes all over the country to share American Indian traditions and insights the weekend of Friday, April 24 – Monday, April 27, 2015. The Elders from many tribes offer this experience because they feel it is important to share indigenous beliefs, wisdom, and practices for how we should live in harmony with Mother Earth and each other.

The weekend gathering is open to the public for registration. There is more very interesting information about the event on their website, including costs and how to register: www.fhwisdomkeepers.org