Camp is less than 90 days away, and we just could not be more excited. Invitations for the May 17th New Camper Party in New Rochelle will be going out later this week, and the phones are ringing every day with new parents calling with really good, important questions about this summer. Just a reminder, in the past few weeks we have posted these blogs designed to help our newest campers and parents know the in's and out's of life at our brother-sister summer camp in New Hampshire. If you have not yet shared these with your new camper please consider doing so this week, as each of them has been designed to help them feel more prepared -- and less anxious -- for their upcoming summer adventure.
The start of camp is just over 100 days away, and we know that both parents and campers are getting really excited. We also know that even our returning campers have tons of questions as they prepare for the summer of 2015. In recent weeks we’ve written articles for parents and campers about camp bedtime rituals, why free play is our campers’ favorite time of the day and some new and exciting news about evening sports clinics and arts master classes. If you have not yet shared them with your camper we urge you to do so now! This information can be very helpful in preparing your child for a successful first season at our summer camp in New Hampshire.
With so much snow on the ground the start of this summer can feel like it's years from now, and yet our opening day is less than 150 days away! So I have a question for our newest campers: are you getting excited for Camp? We sure are! We are so looking forward to spending the summer with you – playing together, learning, sharing, and just getting to know you better. We have so many fun daytime and evening activities planned already, like soccer and basketball, waterskiing and rock climbing, and capture the flag and Jell-O wrestling.
As excited as you may be joining us this summer, we also know that most new campers are also at least a bit nervous about their first summer with us up in New Hampshire. Much of this nervousness is due to the many questions you may have about what camp is going to be like, and how certain things work (like laundry and meal time and bunk cleanup and the bus ride up to Camp). So each week we are posting a blog with the answers to some of your new camper questions. Recently, we've written about some of the ways we spend our free time, how our campers show their spirit during our many fun special events, and the kind, nurturing ways our counselors put their campers to bed each night. We have put together these answers to some of the questions new campers seem to wonder about each summer. For the next few weeks we want to cover some of the questions about life in and outside of our bunks, and how that works. This information isd also for parents, and we ask that you please make sure to share this with your new campers!
I sleep with a stuffed animal at home. Should I bring it?
This is one of the most frequent questions we are asked! Almost every single junior camper (age 8-12) in Kenwood & Evergreen brings some sort of special item or object with them to Camp – a teddy bear, stuffed dog, sports pillow, or even a blanket they’ve had since they were really little. We’ve seen just about everything, and just about everyone in your bunk will have something. If having something like this is going to help you feel comfortable at Camp – and help you sleep at night -- then it’s probably a good idea that you bring it. What we recommend is that you don’t bring something fragile or irreplaceable. Living in a bunk, it’s easy for your special object to fall on the floor or get dirty. And sometimes these things even get lost at Camp. So you might want to bring you second favorite stuffed animal, or a blanket that feels like your much-loved one that is safely waiting for you when you get home from a fantastic summer at Camp.
So where do I keep my toothbrush?
In Kenwood you will be able to keep your toothbrush, toothpaste, and other toiletries in the back room bathroom, and in your front cubby. Please don’t leave your shampoo and soap in the shower, as the shower is used by everyone in your bunk and there isn’t enough space.
In Evergreen you will have space to keep your toiletries in the bathroom. Some campers also keep their toiletries on the top of their dresser. Please don’t leave your shampoo and soap in the shower, as everyone in your bunk needs to use the shower and there isn’t enough space. Many campers bring a plastic shower caddy that holds everything in a neat and contained way.
Inside the front and back rooms of inviting, nurturing Camp Kenwood bunks
In Kenwood, what goes in my Back Cubby and what goes in my Front Cubby?
When you get to Camp you will see that your bags have already been unpacked by your counselors. In your back cubby you will find neat stacks of your shirts, shorts, pants, socks, and underwear. On the top shelf you will find your towels and sheets. Your raincoats, ponchos and jackets will be hung up either on hangers, or on pegs. Please make sure you look around and make sure you know where your belongings are located!
Your front cubby is a great place to put all of your other stuff, including your stamps and stationary, your music, your water bottle, hats, games, cards, books, magazines, bug spray, and sun tan lotion.
Inside the bright, comfortable, homey cabins of Camp Evergreen
In Evergreen, what goes in my Dresser?
Just as with Kenwood, Evergreen campers are greeted with unpacked bags and made beds on opening day. We do this so that our campers feel like they have a home base from the minute they arrive, and can immediately go outside and start forming friendships. Who wants to unpack and get homesick when you can have fun right away?!
In Evergreen your dresser is located in the main room of the bunk, either next to or at the foot of your bed. When you arrive this summer your counselors will have put your clothes that can be folded – socks, underwear, t-shirts, bathing suits, shorts, pajamas - into your dressers. Pants, sweatshirts, jackets, etc. will be hung in closets located either in the bathroom, or in the living room hallway. Many campers use the top of their dressers as a place to keep all of their little items, including stationery, flashlights, books, stuffed animals, and more.
How about my sheets and towels?
In Evergreen we keep your sheets and towels in the linen closet, which is located in your bathroom. Towels are kept in the linen closet in the bathroom, stacked on shelves in living room, and in window bins in the living room.
But what about the stuff that doesn't fit in a Kenwood Front Cubby or on top of an Evergreen Dresser?
Many campers find that they like keeping these odds and ends in a Rubbermaid-style bin that they keep under their bed. If you decide to bring one of these to Camp please know that the tallest bin that will fit under a K&E bed is 7 inches! Here's a link to a bin that many campers find useful at Camp.
Where do I keep my shoes at Camp?
You may have seen in our online clothing catalog that they offer something designed to hold your shoes. It attaches to the end of your bed. Many campers find this very useful, as it keeps their shoes organized and off of the floor. Other campers keep their shoes lined up beneath their bed, or in the bottom of their front cubby (in Kenwood). Whichever works best for you is fine with us, as long as you are keeping track of them. Throwing them in a pile in a corner of the bunk is messy, and a great way to lose a shoe.
Help me understand how laundry works
New campers are often curious about how this works. When you get to Camp you will find where your counselors have hung your laundry bags up in the bunk or living room. When your clothes are dirty, please place them in the laundry bag. Once a week your bunk will be asked to bring your laundry bags to get washed at the Laundry. You and your bunkmates will cross the road with a counselor, and make sure to put your belongings in a barrel that is clearly marked with your bunk’s name on it. If you put your bag in another bunk’s barrel it may take a long time to get your clothing back!
The following day you will hear an announcement by your head counselors letting you and your bunkmates know that your laundry is ready. Ask your counselor when will be the right time for you and your bunkmates (with a counselor) to head back to the Laundry. To get to Laundry you will have to cross our Camp road, and campers may only do this with a counselor present! When you get there your shirts, shorts, towels and other laundry will be clean and neatly folded into piles. Your socks and underwear will be stuffed into the laundry bags. Please make sure that you only take what belongs to your bunk!
It will probably take you and your bunkmates a couple of trips to get all of the clean laundry back to the bunk. Once everything has arrived, all of the campers and counselors in your bunk will sort through everything, and make sure that everyone gets back what belongs to them. Make sure that you stay in the bunk until every article of clothing has been returned to its owner, and that all of the clothing has been put away. If anything that doesn’t belong to you or your bunkmates has been placed in your laundry please return it immediately to the Laundry. Somebody will be looking for what you found!
What if I have more questions before Camp?
Don’t worry – we will be posting more information like this one over the next few weeks months. Next week we'll be writing about meal time, free play after dinner, and more! Hopefully we will answer most of your questions before our New Camper Parties in May, and continue to help you get more excited for your first season with us at our summer camp in New Hampshire! In the meantime, if you have any additional questions or thoughts about the summer please reach out via email. We’d love to hear from you!
Founded in 1930, Camps Kenwood and Evergreen is a brother-sister summer camp in NH. Through our innovative, intentional approach we help new campers reduce anxiety and homesickness before the summer even begins.
There may be fresh snow all over the East coast today, but the start of our summer camp in New Hampshire is only 150 days away! And as our June 27th start is approaching, the most common questions we are getting from new parents and campers are about bedtime. Is there a set bedtime at Kenwood and Evergreen? Am I allowed to read after lights out? What if I need extra time or attention from a counselor? During the winter and spring months we try to tackle a different aspect of life in our intentional NH community each week, and hopefully provide some insider information for parents and campers. This week’s subject is all about bedtime rituals.
Every night of our 7-week session we have a fun, exciting evening activity that starts at 7:30pm, and ends around 8:45pm. Evening activities include ceremonial campfires, slam dunk contests and home run derbies, costume dance nights, capture the flag games that include all of Kenwood or Evergreen, lip sync nights, Minute-to-Win-It game show nights, theatrical performances, and, of course, wrestling in over 1,000 pounds of Jell-O. The evenings are pretty incredible at our overnight camp.
This morning I saw a video about bullying that I felt needed to be shared. The short, 6-minute documentary is titled “Opening Doors and Hearts”, and it profiles a young man named Josh and his struggle to find social acceptance in a new school. Initially withdrawn and seemingly unnoticed, Josh begins holding the door for anyone and everyone he encounters. It eventually becomes a way that he gets noticed by his peers, and recognized in a positive way. As you will see in the video it eventually leads to him becoming a minor celebrity in his local community, and even someone who changes the culture of his entire school. Take a look at this short film.
At our summer camp in New Hampshire we know that many first-time campers and parents are an ever changing combination of excited and nervous. That’s perfectly natural, and something we have a lot of experience helping with. One thing that we’ve learned is that it’s important to provide new families with tools to help them both prepare for their first overnight camp experience, and give them real insight into what it’s like to be a member of our camp community.
A common question we are asked by campers is “what will I be doing during free time?” In an age of constant connectivity, many campers wonder what they will be doing when their mobile electronic devices are at home for the summer. Recently, I wrote about two games that our boys and girls love playing when they aren’t at regular activities: Magic: The Gathering and Sleeping Queens. If you aren’t familiar with these games I highly recommend checking out those two blogs!
An article for parents caught my eye a few days ago titled "6 Things The Happiest Families All Have In Common". It was actually a summary of the book The Secrets of Happy Families by author and social commentator Bruce Feiler. You may be familiar with Feiler, as he has written for the New York Times, New Yorker, is a regular commentator on NPR, and has a series of TED talks that have millions of views. Based on his research here are Feiler's 6 tips for creating a happy family dynamic:
- Create a family mission statement
- Share your family history
- Hold weekly family meetings
- Fight right
- Have family dinner together... any time of the day
- Just try
As I look at this list and think about my own family (including the one that I grew up in, and the one that my wife and I co-parent in now), I recognize some things that we do, and at least one then never occured to either of us. I've included a link below to the entire article, which elaborates on each of Feiler's points.