Preparing My Child For Summer Camp, Vol. 2November 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, growing, making lasting friendships, 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. If you’d like to see “Preparing My Child For Summer Camp, Vol. 1” please click here.
Throughout the year we’ll be posting them on our blog and sending them 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!
How do meals at Camps Kenwood & Evergreen work?
Your bunk is going to be like your summer family while you are at Camp – and that includes at mealtimes. At almost every meal you will sit with your bunkmates and counselors. It’s a great time to relax, chat with friends, laugh with your counselors, and recharge your batteries. We will have a short Assembly before each Breakfast and Dinner. Assemblies are a big, friendly meeting where we gather everyone from the Kenwood & Evergreen community to talk about all of the interesting or exciting things that just happened, or are going to happen in the next couple of hours. You’ll get a chance to learn about the upcoming evening activity, about how much fun a group had climbing a mountain yesterday, or who has a birthday. At lunchtime you will leave your bunk and come straight to the Dining Hall. You and your bunkmates will walk to your regular table and wait for the rest of the Camp to enter the Dining Hall. As a community we all work to help keep the Dining Hall a relaxing place where we all enjoy our meals together.
At Camp we eat in what is called Family Style. This means that just like in the bunk, everyone will have some responsibility for helping out at the table. One of the counselors will go up and get a tray of food. He or she will distribute this to the table. Once the food runs out someone at the table will take the tray and the empty dishes and get in line for Seconds. At the Seconds Window you will also be able to get eggs for breakfast, and the Vegetarian meal for lunch & dinner. If you run out of juice, water, milk, napkins, ketchup, or anything else, you may be asked by a counselor to head to the Seconds Window.
There are also multiple salad bars in the Dining Hall. At breakfast time they are filled with fresh fruit and yogurt. At lunch and dinner they have different vegetables, prepared salads, and other goodies. There may be different items offered at each salad bar.
There are also toasters located throughout the Dining Hall. If you would like to make yourself a bagel, toast, or a toasted English muffin you are welcome to do so. Please make sure that you do not put anything over-sized in the toaster, as it will burn. This includes muffins and croissants. Nothing buttered or covered in cheese should ever be placed in the toaster!!!
Because there are so many different options at each meal, it is easy for the Dining Hall to become chaotic. We ask that only one person from each table be up at a time during the meal.
Fresh fruit will be offered after each lunch for dessert. There will be an ice cream or baked dessert after each dinner. A counselor must come to the Seconds Window to get dessert. Campers should remain at their table. At the end of the meal, everyone is responsible for cleaning the extra food off of the plates onto one plate. Please work with your bunkmates to stack your plates and cups >neatly and place them on your table’s tray. There are a group of wonderful staff members who serve food and keep the dining hall clean, and we want to help them out as much as we can. No food or trash should be left on the table when you leave the Dining Hall.
What if I’m unhappy about something? What are the best ways to make the situation better?
Most of the time, you will be having a great time at Camp. But just like at home, there might be times when you want to talk to someone about something that has happened, or something that is upsetting to you, or maybe something that you think might make your time at Camp even better. The most important thing that you can do is share this information with someone. Camp has a lot of really good listeners who want to hear your thoughts. You can always go to either of your counselors, or your Unit Leader. You can also talk with one of the other counselors in your unit, or with a specialist counselor that you really like. There are also the nurses and doctors. The staff members who don’t live with you care about you, too!
You can also speak with one of the Camp Administrators. Scott, Phyllis, Jason, Deena, David, Mia, Catherine, Elyse, Jacki, and Bob have been at Camp for years and years, and our #1 goal each summer is for you to have the best summer possible. Some campers feel comfortable to talk to us when we are walking around Camp; others like to share a moment with us during mealtime. Some visit us at our houses and offices, and others ask their counselors to let us know that they’d like to see us. Some kids write us notes and place them in the special wooden mailbox at the entrance to the Camp Office. Notes in this mailbox are only read by Jason & Deena. Whatever works for you works for us, as long as you communicate with someone. Of all of the strategies we know for helping campers, not telling someone is probably the least successful. If we don’t know that something is bothering you then we probably can’t help or support you!! And if you wait until November to tell your mom or dad about what was bothering you the summer will be long gone, and we will have lost the chance to make things better right away!
What if I can’t sleep?
Just like at home, this happens from time to time in Camp, and there are so many good ways to deal with this. Here are some of our recommendations:
Read a book – This is often the easiest way to calm your mind after an exciting day. We recommend bringing different types of reading to Camp this summer – long books, short books, magazines, comic books, etc. There will be different times that you want each of these. If you think that you will be reading at night please bring a book light or small flashlight so that you can read without keeping your bunkmates up.
Listen to music – We strongly recommend bringing some tunes with you this summer. You will need headphones to listen at night. It might be a good idea to spend some time before Camp figuring out what music makes you relax (as opposed to the music that you love because it makes you feel like dancing).
Talk quietly with a friend – You might not be the only one in your bunk who isn’t ready to fall asleep. In that situation it will be ok to talk, as long as you talk quietly. If you are loud enough that you are keeping your bunkmates up, or that the counselors who are taking care of your bunk can hear you, you are definitely too loud! The counselors may come in and tell you that you’ve been talking for long enough, and now it’s time to be quiet. Please know that they are doing this because they care about you and know that you need a lot of sleep. They are not saying it to be mean!
Take a shower – Every bunk in Kenwood & Evergreen Junior Camp has a shower in it. If it will help you relax you are welcome to take a shower. You should let the counselors on OD know this before you do it. Please remember that this will make some noise, and you need to be respectful of your fellow bunkmates. Do not take a long shower, or make lots of noise.
Lie quietly with your thoughts – It’s ok to lie in bed and just think. So much of life is busy, and we can forget that spending a couple of minutes alone with our thoughts can be a very positive thing.
Write a letter – You may find that writing home, or to a friend, makes you sleepy.
Talk with the OD– What’s an OD?
OD stands for the counselors “On Duty”. Every night, after your bunk counselors put you and your friends to bed, two counselors will sit either in your lodge living room or just outside your bunks. This is called “being on OD”. These counselors are there to make sure that you are safe and well cared for, and are a resource should you need them. The OD can come into your bunk and tell a story, help if you need an adult, or sit on your bed and listen if you need to talk about something. The OD’s are there for you every night of the summer.
The official Kenwood way to signal the OD that you need them is to shine your flashlight out the bunk window towards them. In Evergreen, the OD will be sitting in the lodge living room and you can go directly to them. Please do not yell “OD!”, as it might wake up everyone else.
Are the activity choices the same every week?
This is very important question! At Kenwood & Evergreen we want to introduce you to all of the great activities that we offer, including some that you’ve never tried. As the summer goes on you’ll come to discover activities that you love, and others that you are less passionate about. In order give you all of these options you’re going to have some weeks with more of what you love, and some with less. If after your first week of Camp you feel that you are not seeing enough of an activity that you really like all you need to do is let us know. Our counselors are very good, but they are not able to read minds! Please tell either your bunk counselor or unit leader that you would like more of that activity on the schedule. He/she will speak with the head counselors to try and add more of that activity to your unit’s schedule. This is true for the entire summer. We need to hear from you about what you like, and what you’d like more of, so that we can make great new schedules for you each and every week.
Would you like to see examples of a
Camp Kenwood schedule and Camp Evergreen schedule?
It is also important to remember that we will be offering your age group many, many options each day and each week. We want you to have a well-rounded experience during the summer, and try as many of our different activities as you can. There may be some weeks where your age group has so many exciting things taking place that you will have a limited opportunity to visit a specific activity area. Share with your counselors that your goal for the next week is to have more of that activity. They will work with you to try and meet that goal!
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!