Adjusting to Life Back Home after Summer Camp
August 28, 2014, by Kristy
Adjusting to Life Back Home after Summer Camp
August 28, 2014, by Kristy

Guest blog post by Maine Camp Experience Member Camp Alumnus, Sara Sherr.

Getting home from your Maine camp has its trials and tribulations. We may be physically thinking, “What’s the first food to eat?” But what we are really yearning for are our true friends; our camp sisters and brothers.

Technology has definitely changed the landscape of post camp interactions. Instead of writing letters to your camp friends, you can now video-chat with your camp friends. Definitely a plus when the post camp sadness starts to become unbearable and you need someone who understands. Camp friends always understand.

Skype (or Facetime or Google Hangouts) allows you to pixelate your camp friends’ essence right to your computer screen, so their faces can shine right in your bedroom. So if you want to sing the camp alma-mater before dinner to be with your camp friends, you can.

With Google Hangouts you can video chat with up to twelve smiling camp friends at a time. The good thing about this is you can practice all your camp songs, and Google Hangouts captures the faces of who’s actually talking, just like you would look at them in your cabin.

Unfortunately, they’re not actually there. You can’t hug them, and cry in their arms like you did before you boarded the camp bus.  But you can still tell them all about your day, and they’ll have the sort of empathy and understanding that only seems to exist with camp friends. When your friends’ laughter reverberates from your computer’s speakers it will almost sound like it did in the lakeside Maine air after lineup, walking hand in hand to evening activity.

Aside from getting to eat all of your favorite foods and sleep in long past the morning bell many of the things about leaving camp are real bummers.

Bummer #1: The quiet.

Instead of falling asleep to your counselor counting down from thirty while a bunch of shrieking campers beg them not to turn the lights off, you go to sleep alone in your bedroom without the giggles, snores and creaking camp beds.

Bummer #2: Bus notes.

Bus notes are letters that campers write to their friends and that counselors write to their campers.  These are heartfelt and jam-packed with hilarious inside jokes and sentiments.

I think that words are magic, allowing us to populate our imaginations with the entire range of our experience. And it’s for this reason that bus notes are their own portal back into camp.

I still hold on to some of the bus notes I received when I was fourteen, because they preserve my relationship with my camp friends who poured their feelings for me and for camp into those bus notes. I have them in a plastic bin under my bed, and whenever I reread them I get to travel back in time to summer 2004.

Bummer #3: The counselors.

Sure, they are like your parents at camp, reminding you to make your beds, and not to run with flip-flops but your counselor is also like that cool older brother or sister that you always wanted.  Your counselors made sure that your summer was safe, fun and that your cabin felt like home. They found a million ways to make you laugh.  They reminded you that it’s cool to be thoughtful and kind to everyone.  They sat with you while you were feeling homesick, and lent you their favorite shirt for the camp dance.

But, of course, if leaving camp were all bummers then there’d be no point going in the first place. There are plenty of plus-sides as well.

Plus-side #1: You’re more empowered.

At camp, you probably tried things you’ve never tried before. Maybe you faced your deepest fear by scaling the menacing rock wall, maybe you straightened your knees enough to stand up on water skis, maybe you scored your first ever goal in a soccer game. The point is that now you know YOU CAN. Now, when you’re met with a challenge that you simply aren’t sure you can accomplish, you can reference that time at camp when you had a similar challenge, battled a similar self-doubt, and won. Now and forever, you’ll carry that feeling of winning against fear, and I promise this post-camp empowerment will propel you throughout the challenges in your life.

Plus-side #2: You know wonderful deep relationships are possible.

All of the relationships in your life won’t necessarily be bookended by laughter and love like your camp friendships are. But because you’ve reached this depth of emotion with your camp friends, you’re a stronger, more fulfilled person. Parts of your soul have been awoken, and these friends will live on in your heart for the rest of your days (and probably also your computer screen).

Plus-side #3: Each day that passes is another day closer to camp starting again in Maine!

Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools

Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child?  Try out our helpful new tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (2-7 weeks).  It helps to narrow down a few camps to a manageable list that includes rates.  Then you can research these camps in more depth.  

Next, be sure to contact our Maine Camp Guide, Laurie to discuss these camps as well as for year-round advice and assistance on choosing a great Maine summer camp for your child.

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“I greatly enjoyed speaking with Laurie (Guide at Maine Camp Experience). Thanks to her guidance, ideas and suggestions we truly feel that our ultimate choice is the right one for us. We can trust that our seven year old daughter will have a wonderful summer!”

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