As a parent, I know that sending your child to camp is a big step. We, as parents, want to provide opportunities for our children and ensure their safety at the same time. Most parents worry about the emotional safety of their children while at camp just as much as their physical safety. Since it is time away from the security of home and family support, we wonder, “will she be safe from teasing from the other girls?” or “will he make any friends?” These questions are normal and a natural part of our own growth as parents. However, there is a time when we need to give our children the room to grow emotionally. Sometimes it is hard to let go. You have already made a large positive step. By sending your child to camp, you have given him or her a chance to develop social skills and learn about positive communication in a safe, guided environment that you alone could not provide.
Camp provides a wonderful opportunity for children to grow strong, not only physically, but emotionally. Children act different when in groups and away from parents. They learn about their strengths (and weaknesses) in a way not possible at home. Though they are not fending for themselves completely, at camp they need to stand up for their words and actions in front of their peers without the recourse of running to their parents immediately. This helps them understand how society works and that their actions and words count. In short, they learn how to be responsible and accountable for themselves. These skills are more quickly mastered when campers are away from home. This may sound scary to you and that is ok! It means you are growing too!
We here at Camp Sokil know that this is all happening. We know that we need to provide all campers with knowledge and skills first before we can expect anything from them. All Camp Sokil counselors are all trained how to teach children about proper conflict resolution and what bullying is (and that it is not tolerated.) We teach friendship, kindness and communication. These behaviours and skills are valued and held in high regard here. You can trust that Camp Sokil is an environment where emotional safety is just as important as physical safety.
You have made a large leap for your child’s growth. However, you have also made a large leap for yourself. It is extremely hard to let go of your child and give them up to an environment where you can’t be there at every turn. I appreciate that and can say I have sent off my own children with more than a tear or two. I can attest how scary it is to let your baby go out into the big world. But don’t worry. If it gets too scary, the camp phone is always on, for you and for your camper!
Love and Warmth,
Anastasia Baczynskyj holds and M.A. from The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and has been at the helm of UNF Kids programming and educational philosophy since 2016.