Working with Families & Campers to Address Homesickness at Soccer Camp
Over 97% of children attending overnight camps report feelings of homesickness*. For the majority of these campers, the feelings of sadness diminish as the campers utilize coping strategies and realize the support that exists for them at camp. Once campers “settle in” the feelings about missing home fade as camp continues and generally metamorphosize into wanting to extend their stay at camp.
Preparing campers and parents for their first overnight camp experience can be particularly important. At the Berkshire Soccer Academy we communicate with parents and campers early and often to help first-time sleep-away campers prepare for a successful experience.
- Let her know that missing home is normal
- Have confidence she can do it, and allow her the time and space to show you she can!
- Include your daughter in preparing for the Academy – packing, shopping, planning, etc.
- Practice writing a letter using the “7F’s”
- Be loving but firm if she becomes emotional
- Don’t make deals or promises you don’t intend to keep
- Contact the Academy office if you have any questions or concerns
Communications from your Camper
It is easy for campers to become emotional when writing home because they typically write letters when they are tired – during rest hour or in the evening before bed. To guide their letter-writing, we came up with seven topics that help our girls think and share about their experience in an honest and positive way. We call them the “ 7F’s.” We encourage you to speak with your daughter about this framework. You can even practice writing a letter before camp using the 7F’s.
“7 F’s” Letter Outline
- FEEL – How are you feeling? Who have your shared your feelings with?
- FOOD – What are meal times like? What food have you enjoyed the most?
- FAVORITE – Do you have a favorite coach, place, or song?
- FIRST – Have you tried or seen something new?
- FRIENDS – List the names of your cabin-mates. Who are you sharing a bunk with?
- FUN – What did you do or see that made you laugh today?
- FORWARD – What are you looking forward to tomorrow or later in the week?
Your Happy Camper
* The American Camp Association (ACA) is a great source for facts and information about homesickness and all things camping.