How To Talk To Your Child About Their Camp Experience

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You’ve wondered, worried and waited all week to hear about your child’s stay at camp.  The anticipation to hear stories about friends they’ve made, activities they’ve done and experiences they’ve had is unbearable. It’s Saturday morning, their bags are back in the car and their tired little bodies are plopped in the back seat. As you head down the dirt road and the dust settles on your back window you ask, “So, how was your week at camp?” and all you get is “It was good.”  You try again. "What did you do?"  To your utter disappointment you get with baited breath, "stuff."

GOOD?! STUFF?! You know for a fact your child had first time experiences like riding a horse, swimming in a lake and camping under the stars. You watched a slide show where you saw kids singing, dancing, covered in mud and spaghetti and climbing a 50-foot tower. How could your child’s answer to what seemed like the most amazing and exhilarating week just be “fine?” Don’t worry, it was in fact, an incredible experience that they will never forget. The problem is not with their week at camp, it is with their inability to put it all into words. So, let us help you help your camper verbalize their once in a lifetime experience at camp.

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Step 1 – Give them some time. They ran all day, every day from program to program. They constantly had to step out of their comfort zone to meet new people and try new things. They stayed up late, woke up early and sweat all day.  They are exhausted. If they aren’t quite ready to talk then offer up a pillow and maybe their favorite music and let them take a nap.

Step 2 – Stop for some lunch. As soon as you walk in your front door, bags of stinky camp laundry will be looming and a bedroom full of modern-day distractions will be calling. If you have some time before you head home stop somewhere to sit down and have a nice big lunch together. This is a great time to talk about their week before going back into the “real world.”

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Step 3 – Ask camp specific questions. How do you sum up a week of camp in one word? If you are a young camper, it will mostly likely be good, fine or maybe fun. Try out some of these more camp specific questions to spark some more interesting conversation.

1.      Who were your favorite counselors?

2.      What skill builders did you sign up for?

3.      Did you see any shooting stars or hear coyotes on your campout?

4.      How messy did you get during forkless spaghetti?

5.      What was your favorite act at the talent show?

6.      Did you have a favorite camp song that you learned? And will you teach it to me?

7.      What carnival game did your cabin organize?

8.      Did you meet any new friends?

9.      What is  Meal Time Mockeries?

10.   Did you meet someone from a different country?

11.   What was the name of the horse you rode?

12.   What things do you want to try when you go back next year?

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Hopefully, these questions will spark even more great conversations between you and your camper about their experience.

Step 5 – Be patient.  If you still aren’t hearing much on the first day just give them some time.  It might take a while to process everything they have done and experienced.  Don’t be surprised if throughout the rest of the year you hear random stories about seeing whiffles or suddenly hear them yell “TOAST!” while they are making their breakfast one morning. It may not always make sense to you but to them it’s a memory of an experience they will never forget.  It’s their way of saying thank you for providing them with a treasured and life-changing opportunity.

Camp Creates Careers

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It's graduation season! It's an exciting time for many college seniors but it can also be a time of stress and anxiety.  As lifelong students, these young adults find themselves having to navigate their futures through the "real world".  With careers often being the next step, students weigh the things that will make their resume and past experiences stand out.

According to the American Camp Association, students that have dedicated their summers to being camp counselors gain skill sets that the workplace seeks and that will more than likely put their resume ahead of the pack.

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Working at Camp Provides Important Professional Skills Sets:

  • Collaboration - Most new campers are nervous on their first day of camp but counselors are skilled at working together to make new and seasoned campers feel right at home.
  • Adaptability - Flexibility is essential in a great counselor.  Whether it's a homesick camper at night, rain in the morning or a schedule change in the afternoon, counselors have to be ready to adapt at any moment.
  • Problem Solving - A camper shows up on check-in day with a broken leg. Good counselors don't panic, they think. Even with limited abilities, this camper with still have a fantastic time because of a counselor that knows how to problem solve.
  • Communication - Without communication, kids get hurt and programs fall apart. Camp counselors know from the first day the value of clear communication
  • Dedication and Taking on Challenges - Summer camp is hard! It's long hours, unpredictable weather and a lot of different personalities.  Counselors are required to work in all conditions with a smile on their face and an attitude of fun.  They push themselves to be the best for the sake of the kids and camp.
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Of course, these new career seekers will still need specialized skills that only further education can teach them like engineering, medicine and finance. The skills learned at camp, however, are rarely offered anywhere else and should be proudly communicated in a resume. Camp is fun. There is no denying that fact but the value of camp goes beyond fun and helps create professional futures.

Who Are Camp Wood YMCA Alumni?

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At Camp Wood YMCA we often refer to alumni, whether it’s regarding reunions, work days or celebrations.  But what do we mean by alumni? Webster’s Dictionary defines an alumnus as a former member, employee or contributor. At Camp Wood YMCA, however, alumni mean so much more. 

We are overjoyed to run into past campers or staff that have fond memories of attending camp 50, 60 or even 70 years ago. Our roots run deep and the love of camp even deeper. We also have many staff and campers that have returned year after year for 10-15 years.  It’s a privilege to know this place has helped form happy, confident and successful adults. In addition to many generations and multiple years of commitment our alumni are also made up of 5-year-old mini-campers that will get their first camp experience this summer. 

At Camp Wood, alumni are infants drifting asleep in their mom’s arms during a bonfire at family camp. They are students that spend the day exploring through outdoor education with their school group.  Alumni are staff that have dedicated 20 years of service and they are local community kids that come for day camp.  Alumni are board members and donors who haven’t been campers but recognize the impact and value of Camp’s mission and spend countless hours and resources seeing that mission come to life. Alumni are parents that invest in camp for their children even though they don’t get to experience it with them because they see their children come home more confident, independent and happy.

So, to us, alumni are more than a former member, employee or contributor. At Camp Wood, all are alumni and alumni are family. If there was any question as to whether you are an alumnus of Camp Wood YMCA, the answer is YES! If you have ever been a camper, staff, board member, contributor, or parent of Camp Wood, you are an alumnus.  But more than that, if you have had Camp Wood impact you or allowed it to impact someone else then you are not just alumni, you are family and we couldn’t do what we do without you!

Day Camp

The last day of school is coming soon and everybody is so excited about summer freedom. But anyone that has ever had kids or has been a kid knows that two weeks into the long-awaited vacation from school those youngsters will be begging for something to do. Before the dreaded whine of,              "Mom, I'm bored!" even utters their lips, we have an idea that everybody will love.

For summer of 2018, Camp Wood YMCA will be offering Day Camp for all 10 weeks! Kids can enjoy all the fun of traditional summer camp with activities like, swimming, horses, boating and crafts but, still go home every evening to get a good night's sleep in their own bed.  Kids can be dropped off at camp by 8:30 am Monday through Friday, then picked up by 5:30 pm, with extended hours available for $20 more per week. Lunch is also provided!

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On the way home everyday, imagine all the fun stories of adventurous creek hikes, exciting horse back rides and fun-loving counselors. Imagine the satisfying feeling of knowing you are leaving your child in the care of a character-driven, outdoor program led by kind role-models that adore each and every child. Whether it's for one week or all ten you can rest assured your child will not be coming home saying they're bored.

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Traditional Day Camp will be offered June 11-15, June 18-22, July 9-13, July 16-20, July 23-27 and July 30-August 3.  Horse Day Camp will be offered June 25-29, July 2-6 and August 6-10.

At Horse Day, campers will get the opportunity to ride and care for Camp Wood YMCA's herd of gentle horses with the help of our experienced team of Wranglers. In addition to riding and instruction time, day campers will also get to sample popular camp programs like swimming and archery before heading home in the afternoon. 

So before you see the droopy faces and hear the shuffling of feet across the house, we want to help you have a plan for an exciting summer that will take your kid on so many adventures there won't be time for boredom.