Whether this is your child’s first time coming to camp or they have been coming year after year, here are a few tips to avoid homesickness when planning for your child’s KSS Summer Camp experience. All of the tips come down to preparation and allowing your child to be a part of the planning process.
Get to Know the KSS Campus -The more your camper is familiar with the Keystone Science School campus the better prepared they will be. You can review the Our Campus section of our website, which includes a campus map, 3D Tours of select buildings including the dorms and the Rives Dining Hall. Families are also welcome to schedule a tour of campus. Just call (970) 468-2098 or email Support@KeystoneScienceSchool.org and a KSS staff member would be happy to give your family a full tour of campus while sharing more details about the schedule and a KSS Camp experience.
Review the Schedule – The more your camper understands the schedule and what’s next, the more they will be comfortable with the experience. KSS Camp Counselors are amazing and will be reviewing the full weekly schedule and the next day’s schedule throughout the experience but you can still cover the basics before their time at camp begins. Each program webpage (Overnight & Day) includes a sample schedule. Sometimes the most anxiety comes from not knowing what to expect on the first day of programming, so be sure to read the blog which highlights the check-in process of all our overnight programs.
Let Campers Pack Their Bag – A big part of every camp experience is the independence building of the experience. Our counselors will be their guides and help them in every way possible but there will be times for them to practice independence. Understanding what’s in their bag and why, is a great first step to taking care of themselves while at camp. You may not want to give them full control over packing, so one strategy can be to pull items and place all items on their bed. Once you have everything organized, allow your camper to place each item in their own bag. This is a great way for them to understand what will keep them warm, dry, or shaded from the sun.
Review Camp Staff Pages – Knowing the staff is a great way to get your camper comfortable with their upcoming experience. We have a password protected blog called Camp Today, which can be accessed within your online KSS Account. A week prior to your camper’s experience, we will post pictures and biographies of each of our staff members. Review those biographies and get to know the KSS staff before even setting foot on campus.
Review KSS Communication Policies – KSS does not allow campers to have access to cell phones and does not create space for campers to call home. This is intentionally designed because calling home can quickly remind campers of what they might be missing, and greatly increases the feeling of homesickness in our campers. We take a ton of pictures throughout your camper’s experience and post them to Camp Today which can be accessed by parents during and after each camp session. Each staff member is required to carry a cell phone for emergency purposes and in cases of limited cell reception, counselors carry satellite phones.
Saying Goodbye – When it comes to saying goodbye, choose your words wisely and refrain from saying “I’ll miss you.” Instead say, “I’m proud of you.” Stating that “you will miss them,” can instill a feeling that you as the parent will not be okay and will be sad. This will probably be true but they should be focused on their upcoming experience rather than making sure their parents are okay. To no fault of parents, sometimes homesickness is exacerbated by unintentional feelings created by our parents.