Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses!

Here at Camp Towanda, we have an expression, “Don’t forget your sunscreen”. Of course this applies to when the kids are at camp. But as you head to the bus stop or airport this weekend to drop off your precious cargo, ”Don’t forget your sunglasses”. Yes, even you tough dads who insist you were ready to let them go yesterday? These are the ones that we hear break down first. And that’s okay because really, it’s a big deal that they are going off to camp.

Whether it is their first summer or their eighth, getting on that bus is a big step in healthy independence, self-discovery and personal growth. You will see a different child emerge from the bus in just 7 weeks. And that’s a good thing! Celebrate this week as a huge accomplishment for both them and YOU.

You are the ones who have made it this far as their parents and love them that much that you are willing to let them go for just a few weeks so they can return stronger, smarter, happier and more self-assured.

You are the ones that recognize that camp is the one place that can cure sleepless nights, shyness, homesickness, stage fright, swimming in the deep end, picky eating and more!

You are the ones that appreciate that camp is a privilege and the best gift you can give your child.

You are the ones that know that no matter what that first letter home says, this is an experience that will help your child learn how to cope in their own hands for the rest of their life!

You are the ones that deserve a break from parenting 24/7, so please take this time and enjoy your summer.

You are the ones that chose Camp Towanda as a safe, nurturing summer haven for your kids. We take this trust very seriously. We hope you enjoy a glimpse into life at camp through Friday Nite Flix, the photos and the Live Camp Cam, but please do not plan your days around the photos or hope to see a glimpse of your child’s left arm on the camp cam. They will be living life up at camp. We hope you are doing the same at home! The summer will fly by and before you know it, you will be here at Visiting Day.

You are the ones that have made these amazing kids into the kind of camper that will thrive at Camp Towanda.

And you are the ones that need to remember your sunglasses. Because you should be beaming with joy, pride and gratitude as you see your kids step on that bus. You should be proud of them…but you should be pretty proud of yourselves too!!!

See you on Visiting Day!

P.S. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

Why Sleepaway Camp is Good for Kids…and Parents!

So can you believe your kids are coming home THIS WEEK?! Where did this summer go?! Thank you so much for entrusting us with them this summer.

We have watched them grow leaps and bounds, thrive in ways you could never imagine, make their own choices and try new things.  We also watched them navigate challenging waters, advocate for themselves, tumble but not fall and SOAR.  The power of Camp Towanda is truly magical!

marnieI’m sure as you reflect on the summer that was, you also feel as parents that you learned some things about yourselves…especially to our first time parents.  How far you have come in the past 7 weeks?  From tear-filled sunglasses on June 22nd to now, as you anxiously await the return of your changed child.  They are older, braver and more independent.  They return home more confident, compassionate and respectful.  What is it about camp that makes that all so possible?  Part of it is because they are in the “No Fly Zone”.

It’s no secret that this generation of parents has been dubbed “The Helicopter Generation”.  With all the information and access we get to our kids’ lives for 10 months of the year, we are able to influence so much in their lives (of course from a place of love).  How liberating (and a little scary) did it feel this summer to lose that control?  Three of my favorite books, “Homesick and Happy“, “Free Range Kids” and “Blessings of a B Minus” helped me manage ‘helicoptering’ my own children…but I have to say….I think sending your kids to sleepaway camp is absolutely the best cure for helicoptering!

runningBack in June, do you remember worrying that your child should not be in a bunk with “Jane” and you were so concerned that you called and emailed camp a dozen times? And now Jane and your daughter are arm in arm in nearly every photo? Or that you wanted your son to have extra time at lacrosse because that’s the only sport he likes…and now he wants to play tennis and take an art class in the fall? Or you were so worried that your daughter was sending home letters that she was so homesick and last you saw, she was on stage singing her heart out and wrote that camp is amazing.  Or you wanted to send up special food because your son only eats bagels at home…and now he is insisting you make chicken patties as his homecoming meal!?

dadThis is the magic of camp…kids discovering new things about themselves.  Making mature observations and choices about friendships without their parents’ influence.  You can only imagine how far they have come!  But I applaud you for how far you have come too! While they were coping with feelings of homesickness, you were coping with feelings of ‘childsickness’.  When you get your Child 2.0 back home with you, will you let them tumble, but not fall? Will you be the safety net but not the harness? Will you let them be okay in their own hands?  In the past 2 months, you have done these things by sending them to camp.  You should be proud of them.  And proud of yourself.

with girlsThank you again for the incredible honor it is to be your child’s Camp Director with my husband Mitch.  We take being Camp Parents and your parenting partners very seriously.  Please keep us posted in the off-season about their successes, accomplishments and achievements no matter how big or small.  We share your joy in their growth and look forward to cheering them on from the sidelines, until June 2014 when we get a front row seat!

Enjoy the week!