Preparing for Camp

Navigating Life After Camp: A Guide for Loved Ones


Camp holds a unique place in the hearts of those who return year after year. Terms are filled with lifelong friends, unforgettable memories, and opportunities only available during summers in the mountains. However, the transition back home can be a significant adjustment. As camp parents ourselves and experienced camp professionals, we’ve observed post-camp life closely and have valuable insights to share with you–the loved ones of campers. This guide will help you navigate the aftermath of camp and understand what lies beyond the mountains.

Give Them Space

Much like the sprawling wilderness that embraced them at camp, the transition back home may feel like a winding path through uncharted territory. Be mindful not to rush them along the journey but instead, provide a gentle guiding hand when needed. Allow them to process the vast array of emotions, experiences, and friendships they encountered, just as a river meanders its course before reaching the sea. While it’s natural to want to reconnect with your camper immediately, understand that they may need some personal space upon returning home. Respect their need for downtime to decompress and adjust to their familiar surroundings. Avoid overwhelming them with too many questions or expectations right away.

Stories will trickle out

Brimming with excitement, you can’t wait to hear every detail of your camper’s adventure the moment they return home. As a loved one, you want to listen to the ups and downs of camp And eventually, you’ll be filled in. The stories will trickle out gradually, like a gentle stream flowing from the mountains. Patience is key, as the campers need time to assimilate their emotions and experiences before sharing them. Let their tales unfold naturally, and you’ll witness the magic of camp gradually unfold. Know that an instant recap can be overwhelming for an adjusting camper.

Anticipate Lots of rest

Camp is a four-week whirlwind of jam-packed adventure, both physically and emotionally. Naturally, this means that campers often spend the next few weeks winding down from the experience. Understand that this isn’t laziness or lack of motivation—it’s their minds and bodies taking time to unwind and process the profound impact of camp. Give them space and time to adjust, and soon they’ll be ready to take on new challenges back in their daily lives.

celebrate their growth

Your camper has flourished under the nurturing care of camp’s nurturing environment. Celebrate the blooms of their newfound strengths, the verdant foliage of their expanded horizons, and the blossoms of friendships that now adorn their life’s landscape. Applaud not only the tangible accomplishments but also the intangible qualities they’ve cultivated: empathy, compassion, and a deeper understanding of themselves and others. Highlight the new skills they acquired, the friendships they made, and the challenges they overcame. Encouragement and positive reinforcement will boost their self-esteem and confidence. Remember to cherish the privilege of witnessing their growth and be their unwavering beacon, guiding them through every season of life

Prepare for unexpectedly missing camp

Camp’s enchantment lies in its people, and saying goodbye to friends creates a void that can’t be ignored. It’s essential to anticipate that campers might experience unexpected moments of missing their friends and the camp atmosphere. These moments can crop up anytime and anywhere, catching them off guard. As a loved one, offering understanding and support during these times of longing will ease their transition.

Plan for next summer

With enrollment open for the 2024 season at Cheley, it’s time to set the stage for your camper’s return to the beloved mountain haven. Encourage them to dream big about the adventures they want to embark upon, whether it’s revisiting favorite activities or exploring new passions. Involve them in the planning process and let their enthusiasm become the guiding force throughout the year. Remind them of the cherished friendships waiting at camp and the transformative experiences that await in the wilderness. The anticipation of next summer’s return to Cheley will serve as a shining light, illuminating their days until the moment they can step foot into the embrace of the mountains once more.

As the seasons unfold, remember that time waits for no one, and the summer of 2024 will soon be upon us. Secure their spot at Cheley and let the countdown to camp begin. The memories of summers past will kindle excitement for the summers yet to come, igniting a fire of joy and adventure in their hearts. The journey back to the mountains will be a testament to the power of dreams and the lasting impact of the camp experience, a journey they will eagerly embark upon, guided by the spirit of the mountains and the magic of Cheley.

Camp is more than just a physical location; it’s a state of mind and a place where hearts are forever intertwined. As your camper returns from their mountain retreat, remember that their journey doesn’t end there—it’s just the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. Embrace the trickling stories, allow them to rest and rejuvenate, and be there to help when moments of camp nostalgia arise. With your unwavering support, the spirit of camp will continue to thrive in their hearts long after the summer sun has set.