For many parents, the thought of being completely disconnected from their kids at summer camp sends pangs of anxiety that can be all-consuming. A simple prescription to aid in your distress is to write a letter to your young camper. That’s right — putting pen to paper (or typing a few paragraphs in an email) can do wonders for your overactive parenting brain while reassuring your child that you are thinking of them while they are away. It’s also a great way to alleviate homesickness.
Muskoka Woods is well aware of the importance of maintaining communication with your camper. While your child is at camp, you and approved family and friends can send one-way emails to keep in touch. Log in to your account, go to “View Registrations,” click on the week your child is attending, then “Send Emails.” Click “Manage Guests” from your login dashboard to invite family and friends to email your child. Emails will be printed and distributed to your child daily.
It may feel daunting to come up with a topic for your letter, especially if you’ve never written to your child before. It may feel just plain weird. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: they don’t care what you write. They just want to receive a letter from home and will be thrilled with anything you send.
And you might be surprised just how important those letters become years down the road. As Anne K. Fishel, director of The Family and Couples Therapy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, outlines in this case for supporting the camp letter, the letters that her mother wrote to her at camp have turned out to be a gift that keeps on giving.
“Every October, on the anniversary of my mother’s death, I pull out the packet of letters she wrote me when I was a pre-teen at Whippoorwill Camp in the Adirondacks,” Fishel says. “As I reread those letters, I feel that she has paid me a visit.”
A topic of conversation
In case you are truly hung up on topics to talk about in your letter, The Camp Experts have put together a great list of tips to inspire you. Just be sure to avoid pining away about how miserable you are without them at home or any negative news. Keep it light and happy.
Check out their website for complete details, but here’s a quick summary to spark some ideas:
- Talk about what you did today
- Update with latest sports scores/transactions
- Write a funny story
- Forward some funny cards (or e-cards)
- Write jokes.
- Share celebrity gossip
- Send art
- Crazy news headlines
- Avoid care packages
- Share your (positive) feelings
At the end of the day, trust your gut and let everything flow out onto the page. After all, nobody knows your child better than you.
Jamie Hunter is a freelance content specialist living in Dundas, Ont. with his wife, nine-year-old daughter and five-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.