Being away from home for the first time can be a scary milestone for some kids. Being in a new place, surrounded by new people and participating in activities that they may have never tried before can be daunting. At Muskoka Woods, we acknowledge that some of our guests may feel homesickness from time to time, which is why we make it as easy as possible for them, while instilling our camp values to ensure every guest gets the most out of the Muskoka Woods experience.
While we strongly suggest cell phones be left at home, it’s not a deal-breaker if your child feels they simply must bring one in order to feel comfortable at camp. It is important that there is a balance of comfort for your child while still ensuring they are immersing themselves in camp culture and not their screens.
If you are a parent of a Wild (guests ages six to eight) or a Venture (guests ages nine to 10), please notify your child’s counselor upon arrival if your child will have a cellphone with them at camp. Please note, every child is responsible for their own belongings, including electronic devices. Guests in these age groups will be able to text or call home between 5:30-6:30 pm, which marks the after dinner/before evening programs timeframe. This will also be the time when parents themselves should send a text or call if they want to contact their children.
If you are a parent of a Junior High (ages 11 to 12), Senior High (ages 13-14), CREW (ages 15-16) or CEO (ages 15-17), guests will have cell phone access after daily activities end at 5 pm until evening programs start and then again before curfew, which ranges between 10:30-11 pm.
Muskoka Woods encourages guests to bring a lock for their luggage to keep their phones secure during the day.
Cell phones can go a long way in helping combat homesickness if guests feel they can reach out to their parents during the appropriate times, which is why Muskoka Woods hasn’t banned phones completely. Sometimes your child will just need to know it’s there as an option but, by the end of their stay, doesn’t feel the need to use it. And that is what a successful week of camp looks like.
Rachel is the publisher of inBetween magazine geared towards parents of teens and young adults. Mom to her 12-year-old son, her more than 20 years of experience in journalism have been spent researching and writing about issues closest to families. Rachel, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, she now lives with her husband and their son in Toronto.