The Blog of Camps Kenwood and Evergreen

Helping Make Halloween Safe For Kids With Food Allergies

Posted by Jason Sebell on Oct 29, 2014 10:25:00 AM

Helping make Halloween safe for kids with food allergies

Last week one of our Kenwood and Evergreen moms sent me an email with this teal pumpkin image attached. I had never seen it before, and I immediately thought it was a great idea. Hanging it in front of your house or apartment this Halloween will immediately signify to parents and kids that your home is aware and sensitive to the needs of kids with food allergies and intolerances. I love that this came from a K&E parent whose children have no known allergies. She just walks-the-walk when it comes to being inclusive! 

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Topics: peanut free, safe for kids, halloween

Songs and Sounds From Our Amazing Music Festival

Posted by Jason Sebell on Oct 28, 2014 10:24:00 AM

Songs and Sounds From Our Amazing Music Festival

On #tunetuesdays we like to share music, and today we've got a ton of amazing music to share! On the 5th saturday of each summer our community puts on its annual music festival called Hollowpallooza. We place a 30-ft stage in the center of Camp, have a massive BBQ, and dance along while our campers and counselors play almost five hours of music. It's an event you have to see to believe. 

As I have discussed in previous blogs, our summer camp in NH focuses on teaching 21st century skills to children and young adults. These skills include collaboration and creativity, along with learning how to take healthy risks. Our music festival is one of many events during our camp season where our campers get to showcase what they have been working on all summer.

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Topics: Hollowpallooza, amazing music festival, hollowpallooza music

Helping Children Process Their Anxieties About Being Away From Home

Posted by Jason Sebell on Oct 27, 2014 10:50:00 AM

Helping children process their anxieties about being away from home

We know that some of our campers wrestle with nervousness about going to camp. For some their anxiety is about going away for the first time. For others it's about returning to a place where they were very successful, but now find it hard to sort through their memories of when camp had its challenges. This is perfectly natural. Camp does present children with obstacles and learning opportunities. That's a part of what makes it such a valuable experience! 

For most children, going away to summer camp is their first significant time away from home. And whether it's an experience they are now struggling to process, or one that looms large in their future, it can be very challenging for parents to know how to help their child without throwing up their hands to say "fine, then you don't have to go anymore!" 

One of these campers may be yours. Starting in the fall you may even start to hear language such as “I just won’t go”, “you can’t make me!” or the confounding "I just don't want to talk about it". These statements can terrify parents, and rightly so! The impulse is to call the Camp Office and tell us that your child won't be joining us in New Hampshire this summer. But in these situations our children are almost always using coded language that masks what they are really thinking. In our experience, what they are most often trying to say to their parents is “I’m scared. This Camp experience has moments that are outside of my comfort zone. I struggle to see how the positives may outweigh the negatives. Can you be a resource for me?” This is an important moment in your relationship with your child. We’d like to be a resource for you if these conversations should arise.

How About Tomorrow? – Experience has shown us that most of these conversations are initiated at bedtime. While this is a great time to bond with your son or daughter, it may also be a difficult time to have such an important conversation. Acknowledge what your child is expressing to you, but ask if you can revisit the conversation during the daytime.

Avoid Circular Conversations – It is unlikely that you will be able to win an argument that begins with “you can’t make me go!” So try and avoid these conversations all together. Instead, try something like “I can see that you are emotional about this topic, and I understand that. How about we just put this conversation aside until we both feel calmer?”. And then find a time to resume the conversation when everyone is in a better place.

Refresh Their Memories – Months after the summer, it can be hard for some campers to remember why they liked K&E in the first place! In place of their positive memories, they may now find that they can only remember that moment they were homesick, or that tough relationship with a bunkmate. Ask them what they remember about Camp. Encourage them to reconnect with the reasons that they chose K&E. Consider showing them photos from this past summer, and ask them to describe what was taking place when the picture was taken. The act of processing these memories can be a powerfully positive reminder. 

Share Some Confidence – Communicate to them that you believe that they have the skills to be successful at Camp (or even more successful than last year if this are a veteran camper). Even if you aren’t 100% confident yourself, hearing this from a parent can have a major impact on a child’s willingness to take healthy risks. This reassurance may be enough to reshape your child’s thoughts about Camp.

Share an Experience – Find a more fun, relaxing time to discuss his/her concerns about Camp, and do something together. Play a game just the two of you. Work on a fun art project. Go for a bike ride or out for an ice cream. Resolve not to answer your Iphone the whole time. Spend the first half hour just being together. Children are much more open to challenging conversations when they feel like the adult is focused on them in a positive, fun way!

Share Your Experiences – If you can, share with your child a story or two about a time in your life when you were anxious about something. Tell them about how you tried something and overcame that fear. Or when you were in a new community -- at college, a new job, a sports team -- and took charge in making your situation more enjoyable. If possible, share an anecdote about a time when you backed away from an experience, and ultimately regretted it. As the greatest role model in your child’s life, they are looking to you for reassurance that their feelings are normal, but are also looking for guidance on how to appropriately handle these feelings.

Expect This Again – It is unlikely that a single conversation will neutralize these anxieties completely. It will probably make things better for a time, and then your child will want to revisit this discussion. That’s to be expected. But with each round this conversation should get easier, and the frequency of these talks should diminish.

Reach Out – We want to be your year-round partners. We have years of experience helping children and families work through these kind of challenges. We have tools and ideas with which you may not be familiar. We’re available to you and your child for phone calls, emails, and even an additional home visit, should you really need it. Please do not hesitate to contact us and share what is going on in your family.

We know how much you love your child, and how committed you are to providing them with the most developmentally appropriate experiences possible. By helping your child face this anxiety you will be giving them a gift that is even greater than a summer at Camp. You will be helping them develop into a more confident, resilient person. We look forward to working with you on that goal! 

If your son or daughter is struggling with anxieties about being away from home this summer, whether this will be their first or eighth summer, please email us or call us in the camp office at 781-793-0091.

Camps Kenwood and Evergreen is a 7-week brother-sister summer camp in Wilmot, New Hampshire. Our mission is to provide our campers with the most developmentally impactful experience possible by teaching 21st century skills like resilience, independence and collaboration.

Learn More About Camps Kenwood and Evergreen
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Topics: anxieties, camp anxiety, nervousness, nervous about camp

Upcoming Alumni, Veteran Camper, and Future Camper Events

Posted by Jason Sebell on Oct 23, 2014 2:15:00 PM

Upcoming Alumni, Veteran Camper, and Future Camper Events

On Tuesday I wrote about our most recent veteran and new camper parties in the NY area. They were a ton of fun, and we especially loved spending time with the newest members of our summer camp community. Now we are excited to prepare for our upcoming events in the Boston area!

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Topics: gaga, camp alumni event, new camper event, future camper events

There's Nothing Like Your Camp Friends...and Making New Ones

Posted by Jason Sebell on Oct 21, 2014 3:05:00 PM

There's nothing like your camp friends...and making new ones!

Our campers and staff really like being together, and we all find it hard to be away from each other for so long after the summer ends. This past weekend we had our first off-season camp event of the fall and about 60 boys and girls from around the Tri-State area joined us at the GAGA Center in NYC. For about 2 hours we played their favorite playground game, ate pizza, and just enjoyed being together with our camp friends. There was so much hugging, cheering and smiling. A great time was had by all!

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Topics: camp friends, gaga gathering, nothing like your camp friends, new camper

The Search For The Underwater Counselor Lounge On This #MovieMonday

Posted by Jason Sebell on Oct 20, 2014 4:01:00 PM

 The search for the Underwater Counselor Lounge on this #MovieMonday

On #moviemondays we typically show show short clips from the previous summer. They highlight our activities or special events, or show footage from one of our exciting adventure trips. Today, we'd like to offer you something a little different. For many years now our campers have heard rumors and myths about a wondrous place called "the Underwater Counselor Lounge". After fielding questions about it all summer long, our fabulous film instructor Jillian DiBlasio decided to go in search of this amazing place herself. This movie chronicles her work... 

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Topics: moviemonday, funny video, underwater counselor lounge, funny camp video

There's Just Something About Camp Friends

Posted by Jason Sebell on Oct 17, 2014 1:01:00 PM

There's just something about camp friends

There’s just something about camp friends. They make life so much better. No one makes you laugh or giggle like they do. They seem to know everything about you, and love you unconditionally. During your summers together, away from home, you learn to rely on each other, to trust each other, and to care for each other. Your camp friends become members of your extended family, your support system. You learn to love them like sisters or brothers.

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How a sign alleviated stress about food allergies and intolerances

Posted by Jason Sebell on Oct 16, 2014 12:15:00 PM

How a simple sign alleviated stresses about food allergies and intolerances

This weekend I was a wedding and saw a simple sign that caught me by surprise. I was impressed at how respectfully and easily it addressed the needs of guests with food allergies and intolerances. Here is a picture that I took of the sign:

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Topics: food allergies, wedding sign, white board sign

The 21st Century Skills Our Summer Camp Teaches

Posted by Jason Sebell on Oct 10, 2014 12:08:00 PM

 Scott discusses the 21st century skills that our summer camp teaches

We just posted this video a few days ago. It is from a talk that Scott Brody, the owner/director of our brother-sister summer camp in NH, gave our staff this past summer. In just over 2 minutes Scott outlines during a staff training seminar the 5 main 21st century skills that we teach campers at Kenwood and Evergreen, and why they are so crucial for children and young adults. 

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Topics: 21st century skills, scott's video

The Importance of Summer Camp Home Visits

Posted by Jason Sebell on Oct 8, 2014 3:07:00 PM

The Importance of Summer Camp Home Visits

Last night was a new experience for me. After more than a decade of home visits and tours with prospective campers, I did a home visit for one of my own children. 

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Topics: home visit, home visits

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