Tag: home visit

Start Here: Find out More About Camp Now

If your child is dreaming about camp, it’s not too soon to make a choice for summer 2011! Many campers are counting the days until they can return, anticipating seeing friends and staff, and looking forward to another super summer. Others are wondering about camp for the first time. For everyone, there are a number of resources and ways to find out more about each camp.

Here are a few suggestions for choosing which camp is the best fit for your camper:

1. Talk to friends and family who have already been to camp. One camper recently chose Camp Weequahic to follow in the footsteps of a cousin and a friend. Since the seasoned campers had a wonderful time and could not stop talking about their adventure, the new camper decided to go and experience things for herself. Other first time campers go to camp with a special friend or cousin who is also a first-timer. Some campers follow in the footsteps of an older relative and start a new generation of alumni—so, make sure to ask for suggestions from family and friends who may have been campers!

2. Watch camp videos, attend an information night (or both), and it will be easy to visualize the fun ahead. It often helps to picture the experience and imagine a specific setting. Campers can watch a video more than once and report that the video often gets them “hooked”. They start to see themselves at camp. A home visit is also a great way to make personal contact with actual campers and staff.

3. Explore each camp website to find out what’s distinct about that camp, check faqs and read firsthand accounts. You’ll find links to social media conversations and get a feel for each unique location. The websites are also a good place to check out changes and additions from previous years—there’s a lot going on.

4. For questions about homesickness, safety, how to tell if your child is ready for camp or more, read previous blogs that are packed with information and answers. If you’re wondering, someone else is probably wondering too!

5. If you’re planning for Summer 2012, make arrangements to visit camp this year. You can tour Camp Weequahic during the summer. Throughout the summer, Camp Weequahic your child can also sample the Weequahic experience through the Camper for a Day and Camper for a Week programs. Camp Starlight offers tours, as well.

6. Always remember that there are no dumb questions. Make a list and don’t feel that you can’t ask. Now is the perfect time to communicate with camp staff before camp is in full swing and fun is in full gear!

A Camp Weequahic parent recently shared with us that after seeing camp pictures, she immediately felt jealous and wished she could go too. That summer, her daughter’s first letter from camp arrived asking if she could stay 6 weeks instead of the 3 she had signed up for! Those first instincts from looking at photos online and a little research had helped find a perfect fit. Moral of the story: You don’t have to go far to find out more about camp. Don’t be surprised if the process turns out to be a lot of fun—everything about camp has a way of being that!

Do you have a story to share about selecting a camp with a friend or relative? Who would you choose to take to camp?

Home Visits with Cole

Delta Airlines loves me. No, I won’t make it into their in-flight magazine anytime soon but I’ve flown so much in the past few years that I fear my car can just about steer itself to the airport.

While I don’t care for airport food, my ‘off season’ travel is certainly worth it. The planes and the people who fly them get me to where I REALLY like being: in the home of a family interested in Weequahic.

Of all the off season duties, home visits are easily my favorite. The time spent with families in their homes is invaluable. First of all, the nervous excitement of the kids is endearing. “Who is this guy with the picture book and why is he asking me to sit next to him?” they wonder. By the end of our time together, I hope they get a better idea of who I am and what the camp is all about.

Their parents also have their own questions. I know every parent I meet as I walk in their door is thinking “Can I trust this guy? Will he keep my child safe? Will he be honest with me?” They are very large questions that have to be answered. I admit I really enjoy answering all of them.

Home visits usually happen at the kitchen table or the living room couch. (That said, I’ve also met at roof top restaurants, soccer games, and the occasional Starbucks.) Seeing everyone in the family, including the pets, gives me a good snapshot of the child. Are there musical instruments lying around? Sport equipment? Is she wearing a dance uniform? Does that shirt means he’s a Jets fan? What are the siblings like? Is the child leading the conversation or nervous as can be? Every bit of information I can get is useful.

Why do I visit the homes? There are a couple of reasons. First, I’d want to know who the person in charge of my child’s community is before I send them off for 3 or 6 weeks. Building trust with the family, both initially and over time, represents one of my major goals.

Secondly, I need to know as much as I can about our new camp families, especially the camper. Since I personally build every bunk community at Weequahic, knowing who a child is and in what situation he or she would thrive in is essential. Additionally, learning more about the parents – whether they have camp experience themselves, their major concerns, etc. – allows me to tailor each visit and relationship.

Third, there is no better medium in which to answer questions about the camp. Sure, I’m happy to speak on the phone and we’ve got lots answers on our website. However, getting together, face to face, allows the questions to flow more effectively. (I’ve even written about a few questions that might help!)

Finally, I want the camper to know someone when they get off the bus. That first day of camp is incredibly exciting and satisfying to me. Seeing the campers get off the bus with their wide eyes, nervous grins, and (hopefully small) knot of nervousness in their stomach is simply a wonderful experience for me. I’ll be there greeting them all day!

So, if you are thinking about a home visit, please call or write. I’d be thrilled to meet you and answer any questions I can. See you soon!

Cole, Camp Director