Pre-Camp Email #16 — The Single Best Thing You Can Do to Prepare Your Child for Summer Camp

Date published: June 1st, 2017 | By Matthew

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Hello 2017 Parents!

This is email #16 in our pre-camp series.

If you have no concerns about your child being away from home this summer, you can probably skip this email. Otherwise, please read on.

Quick thought exercise:

During the school year, when your child has a problem and needs an adult — let’s say they’re feeling anxious, confused, scared or hurt — what percentage of the time do they turn to you for comfort?

80 percent of the time? 90 percent? 100?

The reason I ask is because at some point this summer your child is going to feel anxious, confused, scared or hurt. I’m certain of it. They’ll be here for three weeks, at a minimum, and each day at summer camp, from a social perspective, feels like a week. Maybe they won’t express the feelings in those words — maybe they’ll just have a sudden need to see you — but they will have the feelings.

I’m not suggesting that these feelings will dominate, of course, because summer camp is actually dominated by excited / laughter / friendship feelings, but when those feelings do come up, the question is, who will your child turn to?

This is really important. Our #1 priority is your child’s safety, and a big part of keeping children safe is tending to them when they need comfort.

Therefore, the single best thing you can do to prepare your child for summer camp is coach them to seek out a Big Kid / camp counselor / adult when they have a problem or need comfort.

When they would normally seek you out, that’s the time to seek out a Big Kid.

We tell the farmers this when they arrive. And we remind them. And we post a sign in the breezeway. And we check in with them individually. And we’re in Group every other night.

But sometimes they just need to hear it directly from you.

You could even role play it:

You: “You start. Say, ‘I feel homesick.’” 
Child: “I feel homesick.” 
You: “Ok! What are you going to do about it?” 
Child: “Nothing.” 
You: “EHH. Try again.” 
Child: “Ask if I can call home.” 
You: “EHH. Try again. 
Child: “Find a Big Kid.” 
You: “Great idea! Which one?” 
Child: “I don’t know. Louise I guess.” 
You: “Oops sorry, Louise is busy. Try again.” 
Child: “I don’t know anyone’s name.” 
You: “EHH. Doesn’t matter.”

Just role play it. You know your child.

Admittedly, this may not be my most eloquent email; but hopefully you understand our intention. We want your child to have the best summer ever. Best Summer Ever! And a little preparation goes a long way.

If you ever have questions, you can always reach me at 717-567-3349 or

Most sincerely,


Matthew T. Smith
Owner / Director
Longacre Leadership Camp

Here are all the links to the Pre-Camp Email Series and CampMinder.