Summer Camp Connections Are RealPosted by Alicia DeHart on April 03, 2020
There is something unique about the summer camp experience. Camp provides so many unique opportunities. However, the truly unique aspect of camp is the relationships we develop at summer camp. The truly extraordinary part is that camp connects people from around the world, even if they weren’t at camp at the same time. It is in this way that the summer camp connections are real.
The connection among the greater Fernwood Cove community was highlighted in an online Zoom chat. This chat included a multitude of Fernwood Cove Alumni. Alumni around the world represented Summers 2001 – 2019. It was a truly extraordinary representation of the support and loyalty within the Fernwood Cove community.
Physical Distancing, Not Social Disconnection
As we continue to live amid the COVID-19 pandemic it is important to utilize our camp connections. It is important to remember that human connections are a human need. Human connection is significantly important to our overall well being. The physical health and safety of ourselves, our loved ones, and the greater population must remain our priority during this time. However, we also need to remember it’s physical distancing, not social disconnection. Remaining connected with our summer camp friends during this time is key.
On the home front, both Alicia’s and the Gill family children have been utilizing technology for class chats on Zoom. Individual chats on FaceTime and Messenger have been great for creating a space for virtual play dates and connecting us with family and friends as well. As we spend more time at home, we must remember to utilize technology and other creative solutions to maintain social connections. Especially our summer camp connections!
Bunk Family Activities
During the summer there are a variety of activities to help develop the connections throughout the bunk group. Through these activities the bunk group grows into a bunk family. Relationships within bunk families are some of the greatest summer camp connections we form each summer. These bunk family activities are great ways to connect with family at home as well.
Each camp evening bunk families have their own bunk circle. The bunk family gathers in a circle on the floor to share stories and debrief their days. They also play games and build bunk family connections. These bunk circle activities are activities you may like to try at home. Additionally, you can ask a returning camper ask her what her favorite game or bunk circle activity is. Increase the camp-like ambiance by having your family bunk circle by flashlight.
Bunk Spa Day
A favorite bunk activity during the summer is creating a “Bunk Spa”. Over the years this activity has been a spontaneous activity during Shower/Dip at the end of the day. Spa Days are initiated by campers, highlighting Fernwood Cove campers’ creative spirit. This past week Perrin and Sylvie created their own spa activity where Sylvie dressed up Perrin. Spa Days are typically full of smiles and laughter. These experiences are great memory makers and relationship builders.
Bunk Family Fun
As with life, summer camp is about balance. With the quiet and more reflective activities come the high energy and active games. Obviously, many of the instructional Focus Activities at camp are planned well in advance. Part of the bunk family fun comes in the more spontaneous activities organized by counselors and campers themselves. As parents we focus on keeping our families healthy and safe. It is important for us to have fun too. We hope some fun bunk activities will help bring fun into your daily routine.
Spontaneous Fun – Sneakouts
Sneakouts are another eagerly anticipated bunk activity. They are organized by bunk counselors and are huge memory makers. (Note: Sneakouts are a surprise to campers and the Fernwood Cove Directors are not aware that they occur. 🙂 ) These surprise activities typically occur later in the evening and only a few times a session. During the summer sneakouts include things like a campfire with s’mores, star gazing, or bunk shirt decorating or tie-dye. The activity isn’t as important as the surprise spontaneity of the experience. How can you integrate special activities into your family routine during this time? What are some special creative ways to do something out of the ordinary as a family?
Rest Hour Games
Rest Hour provides campers some personal time in their bunk. Often campers use this time to read, draw, make friendship bracelets. Campers also enjoy doing Mad Libs, and looking at photos or camp yearbooks. Quiet, small-group games like jacks and card games are great Rest Hour options as well. And of course, this is a great time to write letters! Taking the time to rest and have quiet time is as important now as it is during the summer at camp.
Letter Writing Day
Handwritten letters and postcards are a highlight of sleepaway camp. Fernwood Cove has Letter Writing Day twice each week where campers are required to write a letter home. Alicia and Beigette have recognized how it feels like life in their homes have recently slowed down. Without extracurricular activities and defined school day times there’s less hustle and bustle. Consequently, this is the perfect time to reconnect with summer camp traditions like letter writing. Encourage you daughter to write a handwritten letter to her camp friends. Or she can connect with someone new in her age group. (Be on the lookout for grade level address lists from Caroline to help with this!)
Letter writing doesn’t have to be fancy or overly time consuming. Use anything from stationary to notebook paper. Even use construction paper if that’s what you have on hand! Here’s a fun printable to help campers who aren’t sure what to write. Remember the significance comes in the fact that you took the time to write to someone. As with camp, remember to focus on the positive. Talk about family activities that you’ve been doing or something you’ve learned. Additionally, you can include something you’re looking forward to doing with the recipient once we are truly back to normal life.
Letter Writing Day can have a positive impact in your local community as well. Many nursing homes or residential care facilities are seeking ways for the residents to connect with others during this time when visitors aren’t allowed. Writing letters to members of your local community is a great way for Fernwood Cove girls to share the Extraordinary World at home. Moreover, we hope the collection of camp activities can help create extraordinary connections among your family.