My first experience at an overnight summer camp happened right after I graduated high school.
I was 18 — old enough to serve in the military, old enough to vote, I was even old enough to move out on my own. By almost all accounts, I was an adult.
So five weeks at some summer camp as a counselor in training was going to be a breeze right?
Not even close.
My first few nights, I remember having some of the most intense homesickness and regret I had experienced up to that point. I was in a foreign place, with no phone, no friends, no family. I would lie awake in my bunk feeling lonely and lost.
However, after just a few short days things started to turn around, and before long, I actually began to thrive at this summer camp.
I made new meaningful friendships, I learned valuable skills, and I proved to myself that I could overcome some pretty difficult challenges. That camp session turned out to be one of the most impactful experiences of my life.
I noticed an immediate change in my confidence, and I felt more capable and independent than ever. I am forever grateful for that camp experience, I don’t know what my life would look like without it.
I share this story with you because, although it’s a little embarrassing, it’s a reality at summer camps everywhere. Every session has campers who have never been to an overnight camp before, and a few of them will experience some degree of homesickness.
And I want you to know that that’s okay!
It’s a natural part of life. It leads to growth and confidence in a young boy’s journey (or maybe even an 18-year-old’s).
Having already been through three sessions, our counselors are practically experts in showing care and attentiveness to the campers who need it.
They make them feel safe and validate their feelings. No camper goes unseen.
This love and patience the counselors show typically starts paying off today. This is when we really start to see homesickness subside as campers feel more comfortable and adjusted with the camp routine.
I’m seeing that in action now during free time. Campers are playing games, hanging out, and running around with big smiles on their faces
It’s business as usual at Camp Rockmont.
I know that summer camp can be a big deal for a lot of first time parents and campers: Feel confident knowing that there is no better place on earth for your son to be right now.
He will leave this camp more confident, more ready for challenges that lie ahead, and with a giant sense of pride for thriving during his time at camp.
And I’m sure you will be even more proud of him because in my opinion, homesickness is just evidence of the sheer amount of love you and your family show your son and how much he loves y’all back!
And that’s a really good thing.
Assistant Program Director