We hope you are enjoying your summer at home and have found some time to write your camper. Campers LOVE getting mail!!!! Throughout the summer, we promise they will write you back. But we think it’s only fair to manage your expectations on those first few letters…let’s discuss…
Did you go to summer camp? Do you remember “mail call”? This was a time when someone from your bunk ran down to the head counselors’ shack to retrieve your bunk’s mail. A counselor or camper would then distribute the mail around the bunk as you eagerly awaited a letter from home. You loved getting letters from home!
Now do you remember letter-writing days? These were the times when you HAD to take a break from all the action and fun, and scribble down anything you could to fill a page and meet your requirement of sending a letter home. Do you remember writing a letter at night when you missed home? Or at rest hour when you were a little frustrated by a bunkmate, and the only person you wanted to tell was your mom? Or you just wrote “Having fun. Gotta go.” Can you imagine how your parents felt receiving those letters? It kind of makes you laugh right?
You give the gift of sending your child to camp and in return, they check a few boxes on a small piece of stationery, squeeze out some sentences and hopefully remember to put a stamp on the envelope! By the time that letter gets to you (often days or a week later), the moment has passed, the child has moved on but you are stuck with this letter! Oh the joys of being a child (and a parent).
Now with that in mind, please re-read our thoughts on letter writing in the Parent Guide. “Note to parents: Throw away the first two letters. You can call us after you read the third letter!! Take the advice from experienced camp parents, “please ignore the first 2 letters!””
We don’t want to make you think we don’t LOVE letter writing. We do for many reasons. Where else in modern times do people write REAL, handwritten letters every week and wait eagerly by the mailbox to receive them? It is an old art form of communication that is so important. It also is a valuable time for parents, grandparents, friends and children to think about each other without actually asking the other to do anything for them. It strengthens the bonds in your family and has the potential to be reflective, connective and memorable (has anyone read that book called “P.S. I Hate It Here. Kids’ Letters From Camp”?- it is laugh out loud funny!). It is for all of these reasons that we do suggest that you take the letters with a grain of salt.
One more reason we love letters is because they are a great tool in helping cure homesickness. Yes- that letter you may receive that sounds a little weepy can actually help your child cope. According to Homesick & Happy Author Michael Thompson, “Letters are absolutely the most effective antidotes for homesickness because the camper can read and reread them and feel connected to home without the parent actually being present. Even more important is the letter that the child writes to the parent, because the simple act of expressing the homesickness and mailing it off to the parent means that the child has made a mental connection.”
It is sometimes easier to remember an annoying little incident in a letter, than all the great things that are going on at camp. It is for this reason that we are so excited about our new Camp Towanda Check Box Stationery. Not only is it super-easy, eco-friendly and exclusive to our camp…it helps remind your child about all the great things that they are experiencing and want to share with their families! (Did you download it from CampMinder and print copies for your child to put in their stationery box? You can still send them some copies).
Oh letters. Write them. Read them. But most importantly, SAVE THEM. They will make you laugh one day! And you can give them to your child when they are grown up and sending their kids off to camp! That’s called Camp Karma!
Do you have a hilarious camp letter (present or past) that you want to share for our collection? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
First time parents- looking for more advice from seasoned camp parents? Check out this blog from last summer. It features 3 letters from our veteran camp parents to first time parents about “the letters”.
About Camp Towanda:
Camp Towanda is an independent, traditional, co-ed sleep-away camp in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. It is privately owned, operated and directed by Mitch and Stephanie Reiter (who are celebrating 25 years as owners and directors). For over 90 years, Camp Towanda has continued to define what camp should really be. Our program offers state-of-the-art facilities, an excellent and professional athletic department, waterfront, extensive arts, drama and adventure programs, and special events. We are highly regarded and respected as an industry leader and are involved in giving back to various organizations throughout the year. Camp Towanda is accredited by the American Camp Association and a member of the Camp-Alert-Network, Wayne County Camp Association, Camp Owners and Directors Association and the Pennsylvania Camp Association.