It’s October, so what about camp?
Once camp is over, it can be hard to remember the person you were in the summer. The leaves are changing, temperatures are getting colder, and much time has passed since warm, sunny days spend beside Newfound Lake. Your daughter came home with a new sense of independence, full of camp songs and confidence, but all of that seems to have faded with so many other things on her plate. However, life skills she learned at camp have stuck with her and are ready to be applied in other parts of her life.
So how can you help her recognize her new social and emotional skills?
Ask her tell you about three new things she tried at camp. These could be daily activities, food in the dining hall, or maybe participating in a talent show! When something new comes up at home or in school, you can remind her of the times at camp she successfully tried something new at camp, and how it made her feel. Change can be challenging, but helping her recognize another moment when she successfully navigated it will give her that added boost of confidence to take change in stride once again.
Ask her about a time she felt brave at camp. Did she climb up the rock wall even though she was scared of heights? Did she swim in a lake for the first time? Or perhaps her moment of courage was a bunk moment. Perhaps she approached a new friend group in her bunk, or struck up a conversation with a camper in the dining hall she didn’t know before this year. Whatever the moment, she should be proud of herself! Certainly you, as a parent, are proud of her conquering a moment of fear. Acknowledge that she was brave in the moment and remind her that she still has that spark of courage with her always.
Ask her to tell you about her camp friends. One of the major social benefits of camp is expanding your daughter’s social circle to a new set of friends who she can talk to regardless of what may be happening at home. As our campers get into middle school and high school, we know friendships can change and shift. As our girls adapt to changing social dynamics in school, camp friends can become an even more crucial system of friendship and support. Encourage your daughter to stay in touch, even if the only things tying them together at the moment is “Remember when…”. As they keep in touch, they will naturally begin to connect on non-related camp matters, and in turn will only grow closer as the year goes on.
Ask her to remember who she was at camp. During the summer, we ask our girls to remove the “stuff” that can sometimes define who they are. We remove access to technology, the pressure of picking the right lunch table or wearing the “right” outfit. We ask our girls to be the best, most authentic version of themselves, and then get to watch as they discover their own potential. Better yet, she was accepted and supported by her peers and counselors while she was unapologetically the best version of herself. Remind your daughter of the carefree version of herself she got to embrace while at camp this summer, and acknowledge that this version of herself still exists even when the “stuff” gets added back in.
Camp may physically exist only in the summertime, but the adventures and lessons of camp will follow your daughter regardless of her physical place. She walked away from camp with a social and emotional toolbox full of tools, ready to be used at any point in her life. The skills she learned this summer, making and maintaining friendships, being part of a community, living and cooperating with others, personal responsibility, these things don’t fade away. Sometimes you just need a little reminder!