The thirty minutes after fourth period are some of the most exciting for campers each day. Not only do they get to have candy or ice cream (canteen), but mail from home is handed out. All campers, from the youngest to the oldest, love to hear from back home and it can add an extra boost of happiness to their day. A letter or email from family or friends can make campers feel connected to home and reassured of your support for them. We have created this guide to help you send mail that will have the greatest benefit to each child’s camp experience.
Early and Often- Campers love receiving mail. There is no such thing as too many letters, so do not be afraid to send lots of them. A pro tip is to send mail a day or two before a camper arrives at camp, so they will receive letters within the first couple days of camp.
Prepare Ahead of Time- As camp goes on, campers can often get caught up in all the fun of camp and writing a letter home is not at the top of their priority list. While there are mandatory letter writing times for campers at Foley, a little prep work can help your child write to you more than the mandatory minimum. We suggest packing pre-addressed and pre-stamped envelopes to make it easier for your child to actually send you mail. This can also be very helpful for younger campers who may struggle with properly addressing and stamping envelopes.
Good Things to Write- Asking lots of questions about life at camp is great. What activities are you doing? What has been your favorite? How is the food? Who are your friends at camp? Where are they from? What is a funny story from camp? Asking about camp is a great way to show that you are interested and supportive of what you are doing. It also is more likely to get you a response back from your camper. It is great to remind your camper that you are excited to hear about what they are doing and and can’t wait to learn more when they get home. Let them know you are proud of them so your campers know that you are happy they are at camp.
Not so Good Things to Write- Try to avoid writing about what your camper is missing at home or fun things you are doing without them. Also, avoid saying things like “I miss you” too much, as both of these things can lead to homesickness. Try to minimize worry about being away from home by saving bad news (such as a family pet not doing well) for once a camper gets home. If you have serious bad news to share, we recommend calling camp instead of including it in a letter.
What to do if you get a Homesick Letter- If you receive a letter from your camper saying they are homesick, it is best to empathize with their feelings, but remind them about all the fun things they have already written home about and about how proud you are of them for being at camp. Also, remember not to worry yourself, as letters are written during downtimes where homesickness is most likely to occur.
Things Change Quickly- If you receive a negative letter from your camper, try not to worry! Remember mail takes a couple of days to travel and things change quickly at camp. An issue that could have been fresh on your child’s mind at the time of writing the letter is likely resolved or forgotten. If you are truly concerned, call the camp office to check in with Foley staff about the issue.
Camp Priorities– Campers are often not in the mood to write a letter home. They are often busy spending time with their friends and do not want to be interrupted to inform Mom and Dad what activities they have been doing. Don’t be offended if the letter you receive is lacking the amount of information you were hoping for, or you are not receiving as many letters as you had expected. This is more than likely a good sign, as your child is having too much fun to write home. Don’t worry, they will definitively make up for the lack of communication as soon as they get home.