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Northwest Missouri State University


 (Photo by University Photography)

Fighting Homesickness

According to research conducted by the American Camp Association, many campers experience some form of homesickness at some time during a summer camp experience. It is perfectly normal to feel “homesick” when away from home! Fortunately, the Northwest Summer Music Camp staff members have years of experience helping campers (and yes, parents too!) adjust to being away from home. While we know what works at camp, there are many things that you can do before your child comes to camp to help the transition and prevent or minimize feelings of homesickness.

  1. Practice If your child has never spent a night away from home try scheduling a “practice” weekend with a family member or friend. Talk about any concerns beforehand and then discuss how it went and how it might compare to an extended overnight camp stay.

  2. Discuss what to expect. We provide an individual sample daily schedule HERE. Go over the schedule with your child and talk about possible challenges and ways to overcome them. Having a clear picture of what their days will be like can often eliminate “fear of the unknown”.

  3. Discuss what to do. What if your child does become homesick? What if they have a disagreement with a roommate? Discussing these scenarios beforehand and letting your child know that their counselors are caring individuals who are trained to address any situation that arises helps us to foster strong trusting relationships in a short period of time.

  4. Packing/Planning. We recently posted the Music Camp Handbook that provides all the information you and your child will need to prepare for your arrival and stay at camp. Review the Handbook with your child and discuss “What To Bring” and “What NOT To Bring”. Allow your child to shop with you for anything you may need to purchase. Being involved in the process will help your child feel comfortable later as they unpack and begin their camp routine.

  5. At Camp… We truly believe that the overnight camp experience is one of the most important life experiences you can give your child. The growth your child will experience during their time at camp will impact their life for years to come. As parents, it can be very difficult to be away from a child, but you’ve done your homework and you’ve chosen a camp that takes counselor selection very seriously. Still, what should you do if you think or know that your child may feel home sick?

    1. Don’t tell your child to call home within the first two days of camp! Our experience has proven that campers who immerse themselves in camp life will feel little or no homesickness. If a child does feel homesick, taking time out to call home can stir up his/her discomfort, and that of yours! Keep in mind that a child will often embellish their feelings when speaking to a parent.

    2. If your child does call home and says that they are homesick keep the call short and encourage them to speak to their counselors for help adjusting. Use the staff members and counselors as a resource. If you have any concerns please call the Summer Music Camp office. We will observe how your child is doing and report back to you so that you can be assured that they are okay. Again, this experience is an opportunity for your child to learn independence in a safe and nurturing environment. Your patience in allowing them the time to adjust is a gift that will last them a lifetime.

    3. No news Is good news!! Don’t worry if you do not hear from your child during the first few days of camp. Really, no news is good news. We work very hard to plan a busy, challenging, and fun-filled camp experience. Busy campers are happy campers!