Letters to Summer Camp

Updated on June 18, 2013
N.R. asks from Chicago, IL
16 answers

Hello Moms, I have a first time camper away for a week and a half. She is 9. I tucked some little notes in her duffle and am sending a care package with a few fun items and a letter. I have the option of sending her emails during the week. My question is: is every day too much or great for a child away from home? What kinds of things do you say that are fun to hear but won't trigger homesickness? I never went to camp, so I'm hoping for advice from those of you who did and/or whose kids did -- what did you/they love to hear about when you were away from home? Thanks!

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answers from New York on

Hi N..

I think one or two letters would be nice. Other kids will probably be getting letters from home, and you don't want her feeling left out.

But once a day is probably a little much. I remember when I went to sleepaway camp, my (sweet, lovely, eternally well-meaning) mom sent me postcards several times a week. They were carefully worded and didn't make me homesick, but every postcard came with the expectation that I write back, and I really wanted to focus on making new friends and sort of spreading my wings. I (selfish kid, in retrospect) didn't like the sense of obligation that came with all that communication.

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answers from Dover on

I wouldn't send an email every day. I would send one at the start of camp that says something like "I am so excited that you are going to camp. You're going to have a great time.". Then a day or two before the end, send one that says "I know you are having a great time at camp. We'll see you soon!"

You have already tucked the notes in for her to find (and hopefully they were upbeat) and you plan to send a care package (which I think is a bit much with her only being gone a week and a half).

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answers from Miami on

I wouldn't do every day, to be honest. It might make her homesick to hear from you so often.

When you do write, keep it very upbeat and focused on her. Make it about her activities, not her feelings. NOT how she is getting along with others.

It's good for her, mom. It really is - teaches them to be able to be away from mom and dad.

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answers from Grand Forks on

All the years I went to camp I usually only received a letter from home if it was my birthday. I was really busy and having a lot of fun, I can't imagine I would have had the time or taken the time to read an email each day. If she is prone to homesickness then all that communication might make it worse.

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answers from Dallas on

Find out what the camp policy is for the distribution of mail and packages and how they would pass on emails. If they give the mail to people privately that would be one thing. If they have mail call or distribute to a cabin, I would try to send my daughter some mail so she wouldn't be left out if all the other kids get mail or packages. I would write upbeat things like - I bet you are having a great time horseback riding! What is your horses' name and what does he look like? I hope you are taking lots of pictures. I want to hear about your adventures when you get back. I would write about the weather, mundane tasks like laundry. I have gotten a joke book and copied some of the jokes I thought she would enjoy and share with her cabin mates.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I read a blog the other day in which the mother sent letters to her campers from the family pet, a guinea pig. The family news was written from the perspective of the guinea pig, and the amusing nature of it gave the campers a laugh, and a connection to home, without causing homesickness.

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answers from Kansas City on

I send a letter to my boys every year at Boy Scout Camp. I usually try to find a silly card (one that sings a song or something). I say things like: I can't wait to hear about your adventures, I know you are having a great time, I know you are having such a great time that you'll remember this experience for a long time, etc.

I really try not dwell on how much I miss them because I figure that will trigger home sickness.




answers from Los Angeles on

I would write to her every day, but know that she might not check it daily. If she's having fun and not missing you too much, she might not feel the need to run to the computer and look for messages. But if she does miss you, I'm sure they would really brighten her day.

Don't say too much about what's happening at home. Ask questions about what's happening at camp. Talk about something fun that you can do together when she gets home. Don't let her know what she's missing by not being there this week.



answers from New York on

When she was younger, I sent a note every other day, and a care package 1/2 way thru. I also had her sister write her some notes.

I wrote something like, "While you're having an awesome swimming, playing games, and making friends, I'm stuck working and cleaning house..." Her sister wrote something like "Hope you have sunburn, are covered in mosquito bites, and a spider is living in your tent" and in very small print "just kidding".

Last year we hosted an international student (age 16) for a few days before she attended a week long camp that my daughter (age 17) also attended. I made sure both of them got mail. Even at that age, they thought it was cool to get camp mail.

Personally, I wouldn't bother with the e-mails.


answers from Columbia on

Honestly, it's unlikely that she'll have a bunch of time on her hands to even read the letters you've sent. Don't bother with the emails. And don't send anything with her that will break her heart if it gets lost.



answers from Washington DC on

My daughter has been to camp many times and yes you can trigger homesickness if you mention pets and family. I wouldnt even email her shes too busy having fun!!!!!



answers from Hartford on

Every day is good. Write to her what you are doing at home, just general day to day stuff that she is used to. You do not always have to write, you can send funny pictures, jokes, coloring pages, a package, etc. This will help break up the letter writing and is something fun for her and her friends. You can also find fun camp stationary for her to write to you on. Madlibs where always a big hit, gimp, bracelet string, other small craft items.....also a basic familyphoto or a photo of a pet.



answers from Oklahoma City on

A couple per week or 3 at most. Otherwise I think it will overwhelm her.



answers from Chicago on

I sent (actually left there for the first week) a care package for first week along with several funny cards with short notes in them. My son started for 2weeks so I mailed the care package for the second week. I did the bunk notes email thing a couple times each week. I also have my in-laws and my mom and siblings the address info so that he could get mail from them.

My kids never felt they got to much mail. Mail call is a big deal each day. Those who get none the whole week can feel sad about it.



answers from Seattle on

Is your camper going alone? With a friend? Sibling? Cousin? If so, don't bother.

I have raised 5 awesome kids, who have gone to sleep away camps every year starting at that age. And they all had wonderful times, and lazy me never sent one letter. Ever. I just sent them $20 to buy ice cream. Enough for them and to treat a friend at the little store. It helped them make friends fast.

I didn't even tuck in notes. Shame on me. She'll be fine no matter what you do.


answers from San Francisco on

It really depends on your daughter. Some kids like frequent messages from home, but most are simply too busy having fun and making new friends to even be thinking about it. Too many messages can also make some kids even MORE homesick, so if you're worried about that then less is better.
The truth is, you're probably missing her and thinking about her a lot more than she's missing/thinking about you (which is a good thing!)
The only time I thought about home when I went to camp was right before I went to sleep at night. I was just having way too much fun during the day.
My own kids only went for a week at a time so I only had time to send one letter, which they liked (because it was fun to get something at "mail call") but they never wrote me back.
Again, because they were just having too much fun :-)

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