PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Summer Camp: From the Mentors

From Lauren
I've been a summer camper since the July before 7th grade. I was a camper until 10th, and since then, I've been a counselor. It is almost a week long (Sunday to Friday), and it's been the best experience of my life. As a camper and counselor, I've made friendships that last a long time. They're different than friends you find at school or other activities because you're actually living with them for a week, and as a result, can bond faster. Make sure to get addresses and instant messenger names before you leave so you can stay in contact with your new friends! At my camp, kids aren't allowed to call their parents when they're homesick because it usually makes them worse. It helps if you take a special stuffed animal or picture from home. Also, take along some stationery and pre-addressed envelopes to write to family and friends. Asking your parents to write a few letters is also comforting. When it comes to making friends, if you don't go with a friend, find other people who came alone. It's likely that they're also looking for new camp pals. If you see someone sitting alone, go up to them, introduce yourself, and ask if you can sit with them. Ask where they're from, what they like to do, and you'll be on your way to having a great camp friend. If you're nervous about going to camp for the first time, remember you're not the only one feeling that way. There are bound to be other first-timers that have the same fears. Also, don't be afraid to talk to your counselors about how you're feeling: they're there to help and have dealt with fear and homesickness before.

From Joel
When I first went to sleepaway camp, I was 9 or 10 years old and excited to go, but nervous and scared because it was the first time I would be away from home for a week. I went with my close friend and hoped I would have a great time. When I first got there, all I was thinking about was wanting to go back home. Instead of enjoying the new freedom of being on my own at summer camp without my parents, all I wanted was to go back to them! I missed out on a lot of fun at the beginning because I was so nervous and so if I could do it all over again I would not be so nervous and just have fun and just know that when camp was over I would see them again. Sleeping away from home is such a great experience. I made friends at summer camp by just doing what I enjoyed at camp, such as playing sports, and so I met other kids who liked sports. If you're a person who gets homesick, don't worry about it and try to understand that everyone around you probably is a little homesick too, even if they don't show it. I think the best way to get over this sickness is to try to make a friend right away, so you will have a person you can feel comfortable talking with just as if they were a family member. Be outgoing and show your personality and I'm sure you will find friends. This should be the greatest time of your life!

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