First Time at Camp?
Here are 6 things you need to know:
Friendships happen here
The campers and staff commit on the first day of each session to be respectful of themselves, each other, and all living things. This foundation for the community enables children to form friendships that are more meaningful because they are able to be their “best me.” Green River Preserve attracts a community of bright, curious and creative individuals so friendships formed here are often lifelong friendships that continue beyond the camp season. Many veteran campers and staff report that returning to Green River is like coming home each summer.
Homesickness is a gift
Homesickness is a good thing. Learning to overcome homesickness is a critical developmental process in a child’s life that can only occur by going through it. Summer camp is a great place to practice this skill and our counselors, mentors, and administration are trained to coach campers through this experience. Studies suggest that 97% of campers feel some form of homesickness their first time away from home with most campers discovering healthy ways to cope within 48 hours of arriving at camp.
We need your help too (see number 5) because a lot of homesickness prevention occurs prior to a child arriving at camp. There are many resources available to parents about how to lessen the effects of homesickness including a blog post all about homesickness. We also recommend Michael Thompson’s Homesick and Happy and Dr. Chris Thurber’s Expert Advice for Parents.
Safety is our top priority
We understand how much trust it takes to leave your child in the care of another person and we take your child’s health and well-being seriously. Staff are trained to be observant of food and water intake, cleanliness, and overall personality changes that may signal a discomfort or concern. Staff also build an atmosphere of approachability and sensitivity with their campers so your children can practice articulating their needs and asking for help.
Mentors carry two-way radios with them on all hikes on the Preserve and are able to communicate with the camp office should a problem arise. Staff are CPR and First Aid certified, with many staff holding more advanced wilderness medicine certifications. Our waterfront is only open under the supervision of American Red Cross Lifeguards. Our Health Hut is staffed with two nurses (who are often camp parents as well) each session who provide care and treatment on-site. Staff train and practice the detailed Green River Preserve Emergency Procedures to prepare for random serious accidents or natural disasters that could occur.
We are a family
Green River Preserve is, at its core, a family business. If your child forgets her toothbrush or pillow or just does not seem to have any more dry socks, we will happily help provide what they need to feel at home at camp. We end each day arm in arm singing with our sisters and brothers reminding each other of our commitment to take care of one another. Sandy and Missy love to sit on their porch watching all of the campers play Capture the Flag on the front field during evening program. It’s like the whole neighborhood came over to play after dinner and all of your teammates are long lost cousins that you only see once or twice a year.
We collaborate with parents
You are a critical piece of the summer camp picture. Throughout the year, we provide resources on how to prepare your child (and yourself!) for camp. We will also keep you up-to-date with what is happening at camp through daily updates to Facebook and our blog, and weekly parent emails. Many fears and anxieties of your camper can be assuaged simply by what you say leading up to dropping your child off at camp.
Our phone lines are always open to you. Please call the camp office if you have questions, concerns, or just need a progress report on your camper. We also encourage you to embrace this time away from your children. Focus on a project, activity, or hobby that you’ve been “meaning to get around to” or enjoyed prior to becoming a parent. Hike a section of the AT. Camp in the Blue Ridge. Take a class. Spend quality time with your other child. Go to Six Flags. Have a staycation. We want you to grow from this experience as well.
Invest in camp. It’s worth it
The research is speaking loud and clear and experts agree that camp is important for the health, well-being, and development of your child. Going to summer camp enables children to practice 21st century skills like grit, resilience, curiosity, gratitude, optimism, and self-control. Rumor has it is that children who attend summer camp are more likely to be successful college students too. They’ll thank you later.