One of the best parts about summer camp is the friendships that are made during the week away.
It’s not uncommon to see anxious first-time campers arriving at camp not knowing anyone, only to leave with a group of new friends with similar interests and values.
Making new friends at camp is easy — watch any of Muskoka Woods’ testimonial videos for proof. It’s maintaining those friendships throughout the year that can be a challenge, especially when guests attend camp from all over the province, country and world.
But there are a variety of easy ways to keep those connections alive and well after summer camp ends. Here are a few to keep in mind when your young camper returns home and rattles off a list of new pals.
FaceTime for Friendships
Sometimes the easiest (and best) way to foster long-distance relationships is to simply check in via FaceTime or send a quick text message/DM to let the person know they are top of mind. Inquiring about the new school year, favourite sports moments or movies, or a simple hello can go a long way in keeping friendships alive. Remind your child to get the necessary phone numbers from their new friends before they leave camp to return home.
Use Social Media
Sure, Facebook and Instagram have their pitfalls (especially when it comes to younger users) but they are excellent for keeping connected to friends you don’t see regularly. Make sure your child receives the social media handles from their cabin mates to add to their network. If your child is too young to have their own accounts, inquire about adding their friends’ parents to your networks and schedule regular posts so the kids can stay up-to-date with each other.
Attend/Plan Camp Reunions
Some summer camps host reunions, which is a great way to keep in touch with friends made at camp through the years. If your camp doesn’t host reunions, you could always hop on Facebook and plan one for your child and their friends. If in-person reunions aren’t possible, Zoom is always a great option.
Write Letters and Send Gifts
Encourage your child to add a personal touch to their correspondence by writing a good old-fashioned letter. Because of the time and thought that is put into snail mail, it’s a great way to show sincerity. Sending small gifts, such as a homemade friendship bracelet, is also a thoughtful way to let your child’s friends know that they are thinking of them.
Jamie Hunter is a freelance content specialist living in Dundas, Ont. with his wife, 10-year-old daughter and six-year-old son. Over the past 15+ years, he has contributed to a variety of national lifestyle and entertainment print publications and worked in corporate communications roles at Harbourfront Centre and the University of Toronto. A self-described amateur entomologist, wannabe ornithologist, and fair-weather angler, on weekends he can be found covered in dirt tending to his gardens.