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When your Camper Comes Home: A Letter to Parents

Plan the day of your child’s arrival at home, knowing that your child may be out of sorts and tired. Camp days are full of high-level activity times. Facing home and a sudden change of pace often causes one to turn from a near-perfect angel into a grouch!

Your child may not be as delighted to see you as you are to see them. Besides going home, children are saying goodbye to their counselors and new friends.

When you arrive home be sure to provide extra time for rest and sleep. It would be nice if the child could be excused from chores for an additional 24 hours before resuming their normal routine and responsibilities.

Listen diligently as your youngster shares what happened. Ask questions and be interested, but don’t probe. For the child who is quiet, reserved, and doesn’t open up easily, allow time for him or her to do so. It’s fun to share what the family did while the child was away, then to ask your child to share in return.

Your child may come home with the attitude of everything being ideal at camp. Such statements as “Our youth group’s not much fun, but at camp…”, or “I don’t want to go to Sunday school. My teacher’s not like my counselor at camp.” Patiently wait out the comments. Things will die down. Allow your youngster to write to the people he or she “fell in love with”. For the younger children, it is often their counselors; for older teens, it may be other campers. Eventually things will return to normal.

If you find your child mentioning one particular staff member who was an excellent role model, encourage your child to write and thank that person for what it meant. Many of our staff members have been greatly encouraged because a camper of a previous week wrote a note of thanks.

Please keep in mind that Aldersgate hires an amazing set of staff and counselors; however we do not supervise them outside of the camp experience. We do background checks, follow up with their references, and evaluate them through an interview process. We are confident that they are wholehearted followers of Christ. However, as a parent you should keep an eye on how your child interacts with their friends, online contacts, and those they met at camp, including staff and counselors. Ensure that any continued relationships/conversations with camp staff after summer camp are appropriate. This has not been a problem for us in the past, but in today’s world one cannot be too careful.

Be interested in what decisions or commitments your child may have made at camp. Allow time to share those decisions without giving your young person the third degree. Upon arrival home, he or she may be on a spiritual high. Help your camper realize that whether they are up or down on the spiritual roller coaster, the commitment still stands.

We will notify your church if your child indicated they made a decision about their faith. If this happens, please do not attack your child because you learned about the decision through other sources.

The period after camp is a great time to begin a new prayer time with your child and help them follow through with commitments made at camp. The realness of the time at camp will be much more a part of daily life six months later if God is a daily part of the process.

Once again, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to know and work with your child. We hope to see them again next year!

Warren Hopper, Director and all of the Loucon staff

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