The transition from camp to home is significantly more difficult than the transition from home to camp. You become so used to living in a carefree environment that is separate from the outside world, that the process of changing back is difficult. Whether it’s your first or last year as a camper, there’s no avoiding camp-sickness. Remember, camp-sickness is a feeling that everyone experiences, but no one should have to go through it alone. For my Sachem project, I have created a handbook on how to deal with the feeling of missing camp and how to keep camp with you forever. Even though I have been attending Kingsley Pines for nine years now, I still experience camp-sickness. Every year becomes more difficult than the last, and never having healthy coping skills to pull through. Now, others do not have to go through it alone and unguided like I did. Here is the guide on how to cope with camp-sickness…
Abbie Langalis Kingsley Pines Camper 2009 – 2017
Entering back into the real world after camp is more difficult than one may think. Since you are so used to living in a scheduled environment, finding a new routine is challenging. In this section, I will be going over tips and pointers on creating a solid routine to help enter back into the real world.
When transitioning back from camp to home, the easiest way to cope is by creating a new schedule for yourself. First, start figuring out what needs to be done, such as sport practices, schoolwork, and other lessons. Use those to create an outline for your daily life. It all depends on what you are comfortable and adjusted to. Some may find this as very helpful, while others may not. Do whatever is best suited for your needs.
Although you may have become used to your regular routine, you still need to adjust to coming back into an environment with different surroundings and people. For me, I know the person I am at camp, is not the same person I am at home. Sometimes it is challenging when my peers at home don’t get to see that side of me. This isn’t a bad thing; the person you are at camp is generally more welcoming and accepting of others. The only difference is that you are no longer in an environment where people aren’t necessarily going to understand such a positive characteristic. For some this might not be the case, which is fantastic, and they should never stop being who they are. But for others, this situation may be a little bit more tedious. Since everyone has their own personal situation, my only advice is that if people can’t accept you for who you are, then maybe those aren’t the people who you want to let define who you are becoming.
What you experience at camp is special and unique; it is something to be shared with the world. Tell family and friends about all your adventures at camp, and give them the opportunity to share that same experience. The best part about bringing someone from home to camp is that once you get back, you always have someone to talk to with the same memories. Another perk about sharing camp with others, is that since KP is a growing and changing place, bringing others allows the chance of improvement, not only at camp, but in the outside world as well.
At camp, we are given opportunities like no other. This gives us chances to find new experiences, as well as exploring our own passions. We get to become involved in activities that we are not necessarily able to try at home. After you leave camp, it is important to continue setting new boundaries for yourself. And so when opportunities knock at your door, you answer, ready for adventure. This section is about how to find new experiences and continuing what you love after you return home.
When you are at camp, some of the activities you try may be ones you’ve never done before. In most cases, you try those activities and end up loving them. It is important that you never stop doing what you are passionate about. For instance, if you tried a sport for the first time, find a team to play on at home. If you discovered your inner artist at camp, join an art class at school. And the list keeps on going. Go, explore new hobbies, and you’ll always remember where you tried them for the first time.
There are many different programs around the world that target young leaders and optimists. These programs come in a variety of interests and capabilities suited for every person. An example of a leadership program is Kingsley Pines’ Teen Leaders, which is a three week program for teens who are too old to be a camper, but too young to be a counselor. The TLP is great because it prepares you if you are wanting to become a future counselor, or if you are looking to become a stronger person. The TLP is not the only opportunity to have a unique experience; there are many adventure programs you can join as well. If you are more of an ‘outdoorsy’ person, opportunities such as Outdoor Bound, Adventure Treks, and other companies offer trips all around the country to young men and women. A bonus to these programs, is that they look great for not only you as a person, but also on your college resumes. Get involved in whatever sparks your interests and remember, there is something out there for every person; you just have to find it. And whenever you get the chance to go on an adventure, take it, because you’ll never know what you’re missing out on.
It is important to remain in contact with those you meet at camp, after all, camp is the place where you meet your life-long friends. Although it may seem easy to simply send a text every now and then, and to follow your peers on social media, this isn’t an effective way to keep in touch. Instead, find scheduled times to talk, whether that be in person, over Skype, or FaceTime, it’s always more personal than a text. Everyone has their own ideas on how they keep in touch, but these are just a few tips to get started.
Before you leave camp, it is helpful to collect your friends’ information since you might not be able to get it later. Write down shared social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc. Even if you are not on social media, you can always collect usernames of friends and open an account when you return home (of course, first asking your parents/guardian). Also remember to collect emails and numbers so that you can keep in touch on a more personal level.
At times, it may seem tedious to always be checking in on your camp friends at home. It’s nice to remain in contact with your peers from all over the world. A great way to keep in touch is by scheduling times to talk. This can be monthly, weekly, or even daily. It all depends on preference. Other than that, social media provides a more distant way of following up on what your friends are up to. This is especially good for keeping in touch with those peers you may not be as close with. Just remember, you keep in touch as little or as much as you want to.
At camp you meet people from all around the globe. Some may be as far as the other side of the world, while others may be a phone call away. Nevertheless, it is always a great opportunity to plan a visit. You can arrange anything from a day spent at the mall, all the way to a full-out reunion. An example of this is the annual Kingsley Pines Winter Party. It’s a giant get-together for anyone who can have the chance to come. It is all up to how drastic you want the visit to be, but remember to inform your parents/guardians as well as the other person.
One of the reasons that makes camp so special is the community that holds us together. It allows us to explore who we are in an environment that is non-judging. It is the community of camp that teaches us how to grow into the world and become a better person. It is important that we are always surrounded by people who are ready to be there for us. In this section, I will be going over how to find a similar community as camp and how to create one on your own.
A good community is only as valuable as the people in it. That’s what makes camp a special one. The community at camp is certainly a ‘diamond in the rough’ but that doesn’t mean you can’t find one that is equally as great at home. All it takes is a few people who are looking for support and are willing to be there for others. Each community is different and unique. It all just depends on what you are looking for. Find communities in which the characteristics are the same as yours. If you find a community such as this, you will always have people to guide you.
Almost everywhere you go, whether it’s school, sport leagues, and in your own neighborhood, there are communities all around you. Most communities are open-house, meaning that joining one is easy. Communities are established for many reasons, but they are founded mostly to help others. When you find your own community, you will keep a special place in your heart where you will always belong. Only do what you are comfortable with, and if the community you join at first isn’t what you are looking for, there will always be others that are waiting for you to be a part of. Just like camp.
If the communities you’ve explored didn’t reach the criteria you were looking for, you can always make your own. All it takes is a few people with the same values and standards for you to create one. First have everyone establish their morals and how they can help, as well as what they are hoping to gain. Next, create a basic understanding of what yourself and others are expected to do. This is how to make your community strong. Always remember, even if it doesn’t work out, you will have a community to help guide you. Kingsley Pines will still be there for you.
Kingsley Pines has helped me and countless others through some of the toughest times of our lives. Camp helped us discover who we are as a person. We wouldn’t be who we are today without KP. If I could sum up my final advice, not only others, but myself as well, it would be to take a second and realize how much this little camp has changed you. Who you are at camp really is your truest self, and you should never stop being that person. I am so lucky to have experienced such an amazing opportunity as camp.
Thank you, Kingsley Pines, for everything.