At some point over the next two weeks, many of our first time campers wake up around this time and think, “wait a second – I’m really going to camp!”
This thought is normally accompanied by two seemingly opposite feelings – pure excitement and a lots of butterflies in the stomach. Both are completely natural and normal. To be honest, I’d be surprised if our newest campers didn’t feel the butterflies!
Here’s a truth moment for you: when the calendar hits June 1, I wake up each morning feeling the same. In fact, the morning the kids are about to arrive, the butterflies in my stomach are big enough to get me airborne!
After co-leading camp for 18 years, I have come to realize those butterflies I feel is just my body saying ‘Ok, you are getting ready to do something pretty amazing and a little bit unknown. Let’s get ready.”
When the butterflies flutter for our campers, they aren’t thinking about buses, bunk maintenance, and 325 sets of parents. No, they are normally thinking about one of the following:
“I don’t know anyone at camp. Will the kids be nice and want to be friends?“
“What will my counselors be like?”
“How will I know where to go?”
“I’m going to miss my parents!”
Here is how I would answer those questions:
Yes, it’s a little daunting coming to a new place and not knowing anyone. WAY TO GO! That courage is the first step in expanding your world in all the right ways. Our campers and staff are super friendly and only want to make new friends. Most of our kids don’t know anyone when they first get to camp. It’ll take you about 15 seconds to make a new friend if you are open to it and about 30 seconds if you are not as open. Because…
Our staff members are amazing. The come to camp because they want to help our campers have an amazing experience and live whole our values of Gratitude, Attitude and Courage. You’ll hear a few interesting dialects as about 1/3rd of our staff come from places like England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Texas. Lots of different places!
As soon as you arrive, you are going to meet your bunk counselors, go through a quick checkin and get some lunch. Then, you are off to the bunk and then you start running around camp with your bunkmates and counselors. It’s a 2 minute walk from the flagpole (the center of camp) to the beach or a 1.5 minute walk to the driving range. That’s the whole camp – it’s super easy to get around.
Finally, let’s talk about missing home. You will miss home… and THAT’S OK! I’ve visited almost everyone of our new campers families in their homes and I totally understand missing them. (To be honest, I miss my kitchen and bed at home from time to time during the summer, too!)
The good news is you’ll be having so much fun that, given a bit of time, you’ll be so overcome with camp joy that it will drown out those missing home moments.
So, for our new campers, deep breath – those butterflies are just saying you are about to do something awesome. It’s going to be an amazing summer and we can’t wait to get you to camp! See you soon!