Well, for many, summer camp has begun and now parents begin to scour websites for pictures of their children. When they are able to take a break from that, and want a bit of fresh air, they take the quick walk to the mailbox to check for letters from camp. If they’re lucky, they may find some brightly colored stationary with the obligatory sentences “I am having a great time at camp”, “I miss you” or perhaps a truthful “The food stinks”. If any campers are like my son, you will be disappointed to find the envelope is empty or, at best, a quick one word “HI”. Many camps have rules that campers must send home 2-3 letters per week, but what is in the letters is not monitored, much to the dismay of us parents.
It’s exciting to think that campers are having such a great time playing sports, waterskiing, hiking, creating art projects or working on a performance that they don’t have time to write. But, as parents, we long to get a glimpse into their life at camp. I have some help to offer.
One of the best things I ever did while my kids were away at camp was to send them a questionnaire, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to send it back. Much like the check-off stationary, I formulated questions for them to answer. When they were younger, the questions would be a bit simple where they could circle the answers. Such as, “Circle the activities that you have tried this week” and I would list ones that I know are offered, like Swimming, Boating, Tennis, Dance, Nature etc.
As the kids got older I looked for some fun and creativity asking “What is the funniest thing that has happened at camp so far?” or “What new foods have you tried?” I liked to ask the names of the campers in their bunks and where they are from, or asking them to draw a picture of the bunk and where is their bed.
Each summer I would come up with new questions and, without fail, I would get these letters back. My kids had fun answering the questions and I heard about experiences I may not have.
Have fun with it!