Some Camping Kids Get Summertime Blues
Posted July 18, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
HENDERSON — Kids who go off to summer camp spend a lot of time outside, but spending time away from home may not be as much fun as it's cracked up to be for some.
It's sink or swim time at Pines of Carolina Girl Scout Camp in Graham, and most girls who visit love every minute of their week-long experience. But last Monday, Alisha Wolf had some doubts.
"Usually it happens at night when everything slows down and stuff," said Alisha. "Usually, they keep you so busy, but sometimes at night when I'm trying to fall asleep, I just wish I was home."
Some kids become overwhelmed by sad thoughts and imagined tummy-aches.
"Homesickness is a real condition," said "Getting over it means turning in a new direction."
"We'll talk to them at night just before they go to bed," said counselor Alison Welch. "Make sure they write letters home to their parents."
Counselors encouraged Alisha to buddy up with her outgoing friend, Kiah. It's been smooth sailing for them ever since. Counselors at most camps are trained to spot homesickness early and give lonely children extra attention.
Listing all the fun times to mom and dad in a letter can be helpful, but there's one bridge camp policies won't let kids cross. They can't call home. It makes homesickness worse.
"After that [first] week, they can make a choice if they decide to come back next year, but I think they should stay for a whole week and experience everything we do for them," said counselor Jenny Cromack.
Counselors say most kids are out of trouble by day four, as Alisha was.
"The week's almost over and I'm here to have fun, so I shouldn't be homesick," said Alisha.
Child experts say younger children are often the most vulnerable to homesickness. Parents should not write about how much they miss their children. Instead, they should communicate about looking forward to hearing all about the fun times the kids experienced at camp.
Sending care packages with treats is a good idea, according to Girl Scout Camp leaders.