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Summer camp letters from family

summer camp letter

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#1 KenD500

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 12:35 PM

Do you give guidelines for any letters coming from home to Summer Campers?  Have you had any negative effects from letters?


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#2 KenD500

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 12:38 PM

After having 1 1st year Summer Camper receive a letter that the dog had died, I've developed guidelines.

 

1.  Don't talk about the cool things or movies you're seeing without your Scout.

2.  No negative news.

3.  Everything should be upbeat & positive.

4.  Don't end it with "We miss you".  Try "we love you" instead.

 

I heard a story from an experienced Scouter that he had 1 Scout get the news his parents were divorcing in a letter at Summer Camp.


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#3 Lurking...

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:55 PM

 Unfortunately we have very little control over what goes on between parent and their child.  Making suggestions are useful, but hard to enforce.


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#4 Eagledad

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 02:22 PM

After having 1 1st year Summer Camper receive a letter that the dog had died, I've developed guidelines.

 

1.  Don't talk about the cool things or movies you're seeing without your Scout.

2.  No negative news.

3.  Everything should be upbeat & positive.

4.  Don't end it with "We miss you".  Try "we love you" instead.

 

I heard a story from an experienced Scouter that he had 1 Scout get the news his parents were divorcing in a letter at Summer Camp.

We eventually learned to have a meeting with the parents for this very reason. Summer camp is the first long term separation between the parents and their son and parents struggle with it just as much as the scout. So we told them that we understand the anxiety between the parents and the scouts and gave them basically the same guidelines on your list. We asked the parents to encourage their son to have as much fun as possible because they wanted to hear lots and lots of stories. It helps a lot.

 

Barry


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#5 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:00 PM

After having 1 1st year Summer Camper receive a letter that the dog had died, I've developed guidelines.

 

1.  Don't talk about the cool things or movies you're seeing without your Scout.

2.  No negative news.

3.  Everything should be upbeat & positive.

4.  Don't end it with "We miss you".  Try "we love you" instead.

 

I heard a story from an experienced Scouter that he had 1 Scout get the news his parents were divorcing in a letter at Summer Camp.

 

I think "the dog died" and "Mom and Dad are getting divorced" can wait until the Scout comes home at the end of the week.  Unfortunately I once had a situation that couldn't wait, although no letters were involved.  When my son was 14, his grandfather (my father) passed away. Of course it was the week my son was at camp.  I was not at camp.  This happened on Wednesday morning, and in the Jewish tradition, the funeral was set for the earliest feasible date, which in this case meant Friday morning.  I wanted my son to have as much of his week at summer camp as possible, and I wanted to tell him what had happened in person and pick him up at the same time.  So after getting word to the SM on Wednesday (but asking him not to tell my son anything), I showed up on Thursday night and gave my son the news, and asked him to get packed up but he didn't have to rush.  He handled the whole thing very maturely.

 

Sorry to be a "downer" but that's what came to mind.


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#6 Col. Flagg

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:24 PM

Do you give guidelines for any letters coming from home to Summer Campers?  Have you had any negative effects from letters?

 

We discourage them. Why? All too often mom writes something silly like "We miss you so much, wish you were here." Or puts other things in there that remind the Scout of home and what he's missing, rather than focusing on the positives of camp. Phones also are a no go (another thread) for the very same reason.

 

Never had a case of home sickness last more than an hour since the unit went this route.


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#7 T2Eagle

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:26 PM

I've never had an issue, and so haven't seen a need to provide guidelines, but one dead dog letter would probably have me add that advice to put his name on everything including underwear.

Today, I figure most kids are, for better or worse, in some level of electronic communication with home.

I have reached the conclusion that there is no one size fits all solution to handling homesickness and more serious separation anxiety problems. For some scouts more contact is better for some its worse. I try to get to know both parent and scout before camp and talk frankly, especially with the parents, about how they think their son will best be helped to have a good week. But no dead dog letters, and your other points, do seem like pretty universal good advice.
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#8 CalicoPenn

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:47 PM

The only guidance we give is to post any letter to a Scout at camp no later than Monday.  It no longer surprises me the number of parents who send a letter or card to their son on a Thursday when the Troop is returning to home on Saturday.


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#9 Lurking...

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 04:10 PM

I give out my phone number and camp's phone number in case of an emergency and they need to get in touch with their son.  Otherwise, I tell them no phone calls, I have enough problems with homesickness, I don't need the hassle.  I've never had a problem with this setup, especially when I remind them that if they do and it causes a problem, they can come pick up their son at 2:00 am when he has a melt down.  Camp's a 2 hour drive one way. 


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#10 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 04:20 PM

I give out my phone number and camp's phone number in case of an emergency and they need to get in touch with their son.  Otherwise, I tell them no phone calls, I have enough problems with homesickness, I don't need the hassle.  I've never had a problem with this setup, especially when I remind them that if they do and it causes a problem, they can come pick up their son at 2:00 am when he has a melt down.  Camp's a 2 hour drive one way. 

 

 

After we had one mom pick up her son when he snuck his phone and called her, we talk to the parents, give them our numbers, and then lock up the phones in a safe. problem has not happened again. Unfortunately that camp was about 30 minutes from her house.

 

As for mail, wife and I  sent a care package out on the Saturday before they left. Boys got it Wednesday.


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#11 blw2

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 06:33 AM

Our troop sets it up so that daily mail is prearranged and brought up by one of the scouters to be passed out daily.  They give typical suggestions, as previously mentioned here.... and it's usually a short note.... maybe a joke + a little candy or snack.  

They also do a daily bank think, where the parent doles out a little money for spending, and that is passed out daily with the mail.

 

Personally, I don't care for the bank thing.  These scouts can handle their money, and if they can't...hey, there's a life lesson!  Last year, even though I was along as a scouter, I told my son that I'm not along as dad, and here's your money for the week.  He budgeted himself well.


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#12 CalicoPenn

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 09:10 AM

 

 

As for mail, wife and I  sent a care package out on the Saturday before they left. Boys got it Wednesday.

 

When staffing, we had a lot of parents calling us on Saturdays after their sons had gotten home telling us there were care packages of cookies and snacks that hadn't reached camp in time for their sons and that we should go ahead and keep them as treats for staff.  We never had a dearth of homemade cookies in the staff lounge.


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#13 Col. Flagg

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 09:30 AM

Not a fan for packages at camp. It's only 7 days.

 

One parent sent Fed Ex packages to their son EVERY DAY at camp a few years back. Toys, radios, electronics, etc. Kid went nuts with them. Left the garbage all over the place. Left the toys all over the place. Spoiled.

 

When we get back at the end of summer COH his parents are astounded that their son didn't complete any MBs. How COULD he? He was busy playing (and being forced to pick up) all the toys he was sent all week.

 

The next year they sent him with nothing but clothes, his ten essentials and a book to read: his handbook. Point made.


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#14 Petey091

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 04:52 PM

The camp our troop attends has an email system and will deliver emails to the scouts. We discourage our first year parents from doing this. We found that the homesick bug usually hits in the evening after dinner and before the evening activities start. We encourage our patrol leaders to take an active roll in keeping the first year scouts active during this time.
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#15 Col. Flagg

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 10:53 AM

The incessant need for parental contact with Scouts away from home bothers me. Other than making sure the kids take their medication, I don't think it is incumbent upon adults to make sure a Scout showers, changes underwear or cuts his fingernails (all recent requests, BTW). I am not sure how I would confirm this for the bulldozer parents anyway without violating youth protection.

 

We've always just told the parents, "Kiss them and wave good bye. You will see them in a week. Want to see them during camp? Sign up to be a Scoutmaster. Otherwise, you'll see and hear them when we return."


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#16 SSScout

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 11:44 AM

A letter?  What's that?   When I was asked to Scoutmaster the Troop to Summer camp one year, I brought along a pack of Post Cards and stamps.  One afternoon (I think it was Tuesday), I sat the Scouts down , passed out the cards and said "today we are writing home about camp".  Duh.... "what should I write?"  " Do I have to"?   "My folks know where I am..."

  I wrote one myself.   They were put in the camp Post office box that afternoon, they arrived home on Monday and Tuesday the next week...

 

Would you believe , out of ten Scouts (they were 12 and up), TWO did not know their address?   Pull out the record book.....


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#17 Lurking...

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 08:33 PM

My three year old granddaughter knows her name, her address, how old she is, her Mommy's real name and Daddy's real name and is working on the phone number now.  ..... She's 3 years old and being home-schooled.  Somethings are really important to know.  All the names for the Pokeman characters isn't one of them.


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