2017-2018 Camp Fairs and Open Houses

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Westchester, New York
Scarsdale High School Camp Fair
Scarsdale High School
1057 Post Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583
6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Saturday, December 9, 2017
NY Family Magazine – NYC Upper East Side
St. Jean Baptiste High School
173 East 75th Street
Between Lex and 3rd Aves
New York, NY 10021
12 Noon – 3:00 PM

Sunday, December 10, 2017
NY Family Magazine – NYC Upper West Side
Congregation Rodeph Sholom
7 West 83rd St.
Between Central Park West and Columbus Ave.
12 Noon – 3:00 PM

Sunday, December 17, 2017
South Florida
Open House at School of Rock – Boca Raton
141 NW 20th Street, Suite F1-F2
Boca Raton, FL 33431
12 Noon – 4:00 PM
RSVP (954) 346-7455

Saturday, January 6, 2018
Open House at the home of Aimee & Eric Rubin
220 Marcella Lane
Media, PA
12 Noon – 4:00 PM
RSVP (954) 346-7455 or (954) 305-3539

Westchester, NY
Meet ‘N Greet
Westchester Hilton
699 Westchester Avenue
Rye Brook, NY
12 Noon – 4 PM
RSVP (954) 346-7455 or (215) 527-8909

Vail, Colorado
Open House at the home of Dana and Brian Maurer
148 Russell Trail
Edwards, Colorado 81632
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (248) 622-0796

Sunday, January 7, 2018
Westchester, NY
Meet ‘N Greet
Westchester Hilton
699 Westchester Avenue
Rye Brook, NY
12 Noon – 4:00 PM
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (215) 527-8909

Thursday, January 11, 2018
Winter Park, Florida
Meet ‘N Greet
At the home of Lourdes and Gerald O’Connor
2120 Venetian Way
Winter Park, Florida
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (954) 482-2660

Thursday, January 18, 2018
Acton, Massachusetts
Mass Acton Summer Camp Fair
Merriam School
Parker Damon Building
11 Charter Road
Acton, MA
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Saturday, January 20, 2018
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston Camp Fair & Summer Camp Expo
Dedham Health & Athletic Complex
200 Boston Providence Highway
Dedham, MA 02026
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Doylestown, Pennsylvania
ACA Bucks County Camp Exposition
Delaware Valley University
Student  Central Building
700 East Butler Avenue
Doylestown, PA 18901
12 noon – 3:00 pm

NY Family Magazine – NYC Upper East Side
St. Jean Baptiste High School
173 East 75th Street
Between Lex and 3rd Aves
New York, NY 10021
12 Noon – 3:00 PM

Livingston, New Jersey
Meet ‘N Greet at the Home of Elaine and Jason Woodlee
80 N. Hillside Avenue
Livingston, NJ 07039
12 Noon – 3:00 pm
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (215) 527-8909

Sunday, January 21, 2018
Summit, New Jersey
Sensational Summers
The Grand Summit Hotel
570 Springfield Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
12 Noon – 3:00 PM

NY Family Magazine – NYC Upper West Side
Congregation Rodeph Sholom
7 West 83rd St.
Between Central Park West and Columbus Ave.
12 Noon – 3:00 PM

Boston, Massachusetts
K.I.D.S. Fair
Brookline High School
Tappan Street Gym
66 Tappen Street
Brookline, MA 02445
12 Noon – 2:00 PM

Andover, Massachusetts
27th Annual Summer Opportunities Fair
Phillips Academy
180 Main Street
Andover, MA 01810
12 Noon – 3:00 PM

Monday, January 22 to Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Madrid, Spain
There will be a French Woods Director in the area.
AC Hotel by Marriott Cuzco
Paseo de la Castellana 133
28046 Madrid, Spain
(954) 346-7455 or (561) 756-6643 – Call for an appointment.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Main Line Camp Fair
Conestoga High School
200 Irish Road
Berwyn, PA
5:30 PM- 8:30 PM

Greenwich, Connecticut 
GHS SummerFare 2018
Greenwich, High School
10 Hillside Road
Greenwich, CT
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Wednesday, January 24 to Thursday, January 25, 2018
Milan, Italy
There will be a French Woods Director in the area.
Hotel Dei Cavalieri
Piazza Giuseppe Missori 1
20123 Milan
(954) 346-7455 or (561) 756-6643 – Call for an appointment.

Thursday, January 25, 2018
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Teen Summers
Milton & Betty Katz JCC
1301 Springdale Road
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
5:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Houston, Texas
Meet ‘N Greet at the home of Leslie and Paul Strug
4402 Jonathan Street
Bellaire, Texas 77401
5 PM – 7:30 PM
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (248) 622-0796

Friday, January 26, 2018
Austin, Texas
Meet ‘N Greet at the home of Nicole & Tyson Tuttle
608 Baylor Street
Austin, Texas 78703
5 PM – 7:30 PM
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (248) 622-0796

Friday, January 26 through Sunday, January 28, 2018
 BroadwayCon NYC – 3 day Expo*
Javits Convention Center
 655 W. 34th St, New York, NY 10001
FWF is a vendor 10 AM – 6 PM each day
* BroadwayCon ticket required for entry

Saturday, January 27, 2018
NY Family Magazine – Cobble Hill Brooklyn
Brooklyn Heights Montessori School
185 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY
12 Noon – 3:00 PM

Dallas Texas
Meet and Greet
Aloft Dallas Love Field
2333 West Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, Texas 75235
2:00 PM until 6:00 PM

Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas
There will be a French Woods Representative in the area.
Please call for an appointment.
(954) 346-7455 or (248) 622-0796

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 26th Annual Camp & Summer Program
500 West Willow Grove Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Saturday, January 27, 2018 thru Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Paris, France
There will be a French Woods Director in the area.
Chateau Frontenac
54 Rue Pierre Charron
Paris 75008
(954) 346-7455 or (561) 756-6643  – Call for an appointment.

Sunday, January 28, 2018
NY Magazine – Park Slope Brooklyn
Berkeley Carroll School
181 Lincoln Place
Brooklyn, NY 11217
12 Noon – 3:00 PM

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philly-Metro Kids Super Camp Fair
Plymouth Meeting Mall
500 W. Germantown Pike
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Monday, January 29, 2018
Newton, Massachusetts
Boston-Newton South High School Fair
Newton South High School
140 Brandeis Road
Newton Centre, MA 02459
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm  

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Lexington, Massachusetts
Lexington High School
251 Waltham Street
Lexington, MA 02421
5:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Thursday, February 1, 2018
Wilmington, Delaware
Tower Hill Camp Fair
Tower Hill School Fieldhouse
2813 W 17th Street
Wilmington, DE 19806
5:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Los Angeles, California
Meet ‘N Greet at the home of Karen & Rick Shaine
15420 Hamner Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90077
6:30 pm – 8:30 PM
RSVP (954) 346-7455 or (248) 622-0796

Saturday, February 3, 2018
Pasadena, California
Westridge Summer Opportunities Fair
Westridge School
324 Madeline Drive
Pasadena, CA 91105
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Nashville, Tennessee
Summer Camp Adventures Fair
Cool Springs Galleria
1800 Galleria Blvd.
Franklin, TN
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Saturday, February 4, 2018
Brentwood, Tennessee 
Meet ‘N Greet at the Holiday Inn Franklin – Cool Springs
1738 Carothers Parkway
Brentwood, TN 37027
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (607) 330-1577

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
San Francisco, California
Meet ‘N Greet at The Cartwright Hotel at Union Square
524 Sutter Street
San Francisco 94102
4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (248) 622-0796

Saturday, February 10, 2018
Suburban Chicago – North Shore
Meet ‘N Greet at the home of Pamela and Austin Rothbard
420 Washington Avenue
Glencoe, IL 60022
12 Noon – 3:00 PM
RSVP:  (954) 346-7455 or (561) 756-6643

Washington, DC
Meet ‘N Greet at the Albury Ludaway Family home
2805 Ellicott Street NW
Washington, DC 20008
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (215) 527-8909

Bethesda, Maryland
Meet ‘N Greet at the home of Marisa & Mark Rosenblum
9503 Nowell Drive
Bethesda, MD 20817
2:30 PM – 5:30 PM
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (215) 527-8909

Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago, Illinois
Meet ‘N Greet at the home of Cindy Besecker
901 S. Plymouth Court
(SW corner of 9th and State)
1st Floor Party Room*
Chicago, IL
12 Noon – 3:00 PM
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (312) 939-6769
* call either (561) 756-6643 or (312)848-6769 to buzz you in

Friday, February 23, 1018
Tempe, Arizona
Meet ‘N Greet
ALOFT Tempe – Lobby
951 East Playa Del Norte Drive
Tempe, AZ 85281
5:00 PM – 7:30 PM
RSVP:  (954) 346-7455 or (248) 622-0796

Saturday, February 24, 2018
Scottsdale, Arizona
Raising Arizona Kids Magazine’s 15th Annual Camp Fair
Rancho Solano Prep High School
9180 E. Vis de Ventura
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Atlanta, Georgia
Meet ‘N Greet
Westin Buckhead Hotel
3391 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (215) 527-8909

Sunday, February 25, 2018
Las Vegas – Summerlin
Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa – Lobby
11011 W. Charleston Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV
12 Noon – 3:00 PM
RSVP:  (954) 346-7455 or (248) 622-0796

Atlanta, Georgia
Meet “N Greet at home of Dara & Mark Wassersug
4010 Powers Ferry Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30342
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (215) 527-8909

Saturday, March 3, 2018
New York City – Midtown
Open House at the Kimberly Hotel
140 East 50th Street
New York, NY 10022
12 Noon – 4:00 PM
RSVP: (954) 346-7455 or (561) 756-6643

Las Vegas, Nevada
Meadows Camp Expo
8601 Scholar Lane
Las Vegas, NV
11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Sunday, March 4, 2018
NY Family Magazine – NYC Upper West Side
Congregation Rodeph Sholom
7 West 83rd St.
Between Central Park West and Columbus Ave.
12 Noon – 3:00 PM

Monday, March 5, 2018
New York City – Upper West Side
Teen Summer Expo
16 West 61st Street., 11th Floor (Columbus Circle)
New York, NY 10023
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Saturday, March 10, 2018
NY Family Magazine – NYC Upper East Side
St. Jean Baptiste High School
173 East 75th Street
Between Lex and 3rd Aves
New York, NY 10021
12 Noon – 3:00 PM

Sunday, March 11, 2018
NY Magazine – Park Slope Brooklyn
Berkeley Carroll School
181 Lincoln Place
Brooklyn, NY 11217
12 Noon – 3:00 PM

Sunday, April 15, 2018
South Florida
Open House with the Camp Directors and Staff
Boca School of Rock
141 NW 20th Street, Suite F1-F2
Boca Raton, FL 33431
12 Noon – 4:00 PM
Drop-In anytime
RSVP (954) 346-7455 or admin@frenchwoods.com

Sunday, May 20, 2018
Open House at French Woods Festival Campus
For interested parents and campers
199 Bouchoux Brook Road
Hancock, NY 13783
This is an ALL DAY EVENT
Starts promptly at 11:00 AM and goes to  4:00 PM
RSVP (607) 637-8400 or admin@frenchwoods.com






























French Woods is excited to announce that we will be a Maker Education Initiative Maker Corps Host Site for 2015

aerial photo of French Woods Festival

French Woods Festival

French Woods is one of the largest training centers for the performing and visual arts for children and teenagers in the world. Our fifteen hundred campers and five hundred staff come from across the country and around the world. During our thirteen-week season both campers and staff experience a program that is totally unique in the world of camping. Each person attending French Woods has a personalized schedule of activities tailored to their interests and abilities affording each individual the opportunity to receive the most from the camp’s programs. We’ve partnered with the Maker Education Initiative to become a Maker Corps Host Site for 2015

Maker Education Initiative

The Maker Education Initiative (MakerEd.org) was established to create more opportunities for all youth to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, math, art, and learning as a whole through making. We want young people to join—and eventually lead—the growing Maker Movement. Our Maker Corps program brings together a great diversity of people and organizations into a cohesive community of learners and makers, while allowing for and ensuring that all programming is relevant to its audiences.

This will extend our existing offerings at French Woods Festival in game design, trains, model cars, and rocketry, jewelry, programming, electronics, laser cutting C-n-C milling and more and interface with our existing woodworking, leather, ceramics, tech theater, magic, and performing arts programs. In addition, our Maker Corps members will work with teens at our new program at the French Woods Enrichment Center as we start up our programs in robotics and 3-d printing and more technology and maker activities.

French Woods is deeply committed to the idea that children and teens grow and learn from the summer camp experience. We believe that making things with their hands teaches life-long skills that cannot be gained any other way. The Maker Corps program also values the physical and mental challenges of building things. We look forward to working with them.

French Woods is hiring maker types who want to share what they do with children, we offer a salary, room and board, and a chance to work with some of the most gifted and creative individuals you will ever meet. Families may also be accomodated. to find out more, call us or fill out our online application at https://frenchwoods.campintouch.com/ui/forms/application/staff/App

As a summer camp, we offer a wildly diverse and artistically rich environment where prospective makers will be surrounded by magicians and artists, musicians and aerialists, jugglers and craftspeople, performers of every sort, dancers, singers, actors and athletes. In addition to living and working with kids, you will watch them perform in the literally hundreds of shows we do every summer: theater, rock, magic, dance, classical and jazz music, waterski shows, film festivals, the list goes on. Every summer we look at each other and say, “this could not happen anywhere else”. If you need more info, call or email us, we look forward to talking with you.



Casting Call

My name is Richard Hicks.  I’m the Casting Director of the movies ‘Gravity’, ‘Hairspray’, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and others.  We are currently casting an independent feature film called WEIGHTLESS, starring Nick Nolte (’48 Hours’) and Jason Clarke (‘Zero Dark Thirty’), and we’re searching for a young boy to play the leading role of ‘Will’, age 8-12, who weighs approximately 150 lbs. or more.

This search is quite special, because we have the opportunity to find a “diamond in the rough” to play the leading role. He doesn’t need to be a professional actor at all. And because of his size he’s the kind of kid you don’t see a lot of in movies, and we want to change that. Our lead, ‘Will’, is just a sweet, quiet, shy kid. But, he’s also coping with childhood obesity, bullying and divorce — issues that affect so many kids today.

Attached is a flyer with some more information on the movie and link to our website, www.weightlessaudition.com.  On the website is a link where they can audition.  They can also ‘like’ our Facebook page and get updates there (www.facebook.com/WeightlessCasting).

We would so appreciate it if you could share the flyer with anyone you think might be right or might possibly know someone who would be right. Kids, adults, teachers, counselors, etc., etc.

Any kid who might be in the ballpark, you can certainly encourage them to ‘audition’ by filming a short interview (doing it on a smartphone is fine – it doesn’t need to be fancy) and uploading it to our audition site. There are helpful instructions and tech support available through the website.


International Staff Hiring starts soon!

French Woods will be hiring at staff camp fairs in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico the dates and fairs we’ll be attending are listed below:

CCUSA Leeds Camp Fair
Ron Schaefer will attend
Saturday 18th January
The Queen’s Hotel
Address: City Square, Leeds, LS1 1PJ

Camp Leaders London Fair  – NEW LOCATION!
Beth Schaefer will attend
Saturday 18th January
10AM to 4PM

The Grand Connaught Rooms, 
61-65 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5DA

CCUSA London Fair
Ron Schaefer will attend
Sunday 19th January
Hotel: NH Harrington Hall
Address: 5-25 Harrington Gardens, South Kensington
London, SW7 4JW

Camp Leaders Manchester Fair
Beth Schaefer will attend
Sunday 19th January
10AM to 4PM
Manchester Central Conference Center
Windmill Street
Manchester M2 3GX

Camp America Edinburgh Fair
Beth Schaefer will attend
Tuesday 21st January
12PM to 4PM
Our Dynamic Earth
Holyrood Rd
Edinburgh Eh8 8AS

Camp America Manchester Fair
Beth Schaefer will attend
Thursday 23rd January
12PM to 5PM
Manchester Town Hall
Albert Square
Manchester M60 2LA

CCUSA Mexico Fair
Darryn Lawson will attend
Friday 24th January
12PM to 6PM
Centro De Convenciones Puebla
Boulevard Heroes Del 5 de Mayo No 402
Paseo de San Francisco, Colonia Centro Historico
CP 72000 Puebla

CCUSA Mexico Fair
Darryn Lawson will attend
Saturday 25th January
1PM to 5PM
Centro De Convenciones Puebla
Boulevard Heroes Del 5 de Mayo No 402
Paseo de San Francisco, Colonia Centro Historico
CP 72000 Puebla

Camp America London Fair
Beth Schaefer will attend
Saturday 25th January
12PM to 5PM
The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center
Broad Sanctuary, Westminster
London SWIP 3EE

CCUSA Brisbane Fair
Larry Seigal will attend
Wednesday 29th January
5PM to 8PM
190 Elizabeth Street,
Brisbane, QLD, 4000

CCUSA Melbourne Fair
Larry Seigal will attend
Saturday 1st February
11AM to 3PM
The Grand Hyatt on Collins
123 Collins Street,
Melbourne, VIC, 3000

CCUSA Sydney Fair
Larry Seigal will attend
Sunday 2nd February
1PM to 5pm
The Hilton Hotel
488 George Street,
Sydney, NSW, 2000

CCUSA Auckland Fair
Larry Seigal will attend
Tuesday 4th Feb
5PM to 8PM
Heritage Hotel Auckland
35 Hobson Street, Auckland

2013 – 2014 Camp Fairs


Wednesday, April 4 – Saturday, April 12, 2014

Memphis, Tennessee
There will be a French Woods Representative in the area.
(800) 634-1703  Call for details.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Manhattan Media – Upper East Side
St. Jean Baptiste School
173 East 75th Street
New York, NY
12 noon – 3 pm

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Manhattan Media – Upper West Side
Rodeph Shalom
7 West 83rd Street
New York, NY
12 noon – 3 pm
Fort Lauderdale, Florida Open House
At the home of the Camp Owner
Beth Schaefer/ Michael Knauf
5419 NE 31st Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL
12 noon – 4 pm
RSVP (800) 634-1703


















Many first year campers have never been away from home for an extended period of time. It is natural, therefore, that their reluctance about leaving friends and family could be carried to camp. It is with this in mind that I offer these suggestions. Homesickness is a natural result of the changes in a child’s environment. Parents can take courage from the fact that many campers do not experience this, and those that do recover swiftly. All of the camp staff, from the director down, are prepared to help the youngster with the adjustment, expedited with the cooperation of the parent. These suggestions are designed to help you prepare your child for the enriching experience that French Woods provides.

If your youngster exhibits concern about going to camp, encourage him/her to talk to you about it. The child is worried about the unknown and is looking for understanding. It is helpful to tell your child that such concerns are normal and that many other campers feel the same way. If there are specific worries about bunkmates, clothes, or anything else, let your child call the camp office and speak with Isaac. Often specific answers are not necessary after the child has had the opportunity to express himself/herself to a receptive ear.

Begin by involving your child in the process of choosing a camp. The more that the child owns the decision, the more comfortable the child will feel being at camp. Don’t be ambivalent about the length of your child’s stay at camp. There should be no trial periods. He/she is there for a full session or a full summer and should understand this. A “try-out” approach is a sure loser, certain to create a serious homesickness problem at camp. On the other hand, don’t make your child feel he/she must go to camp, no matter how enthusiastic you may feel about the benefits of the experience. Send a note or care package (REMEMBER-NO FOOD) ahead of time to arrive the first day of camp. Acknowledge, in a positive way, that you will miss your child. For example, you can say “I am going to miss you, but I know that you will have a good time at camp.”

Reassure your child that everything at home will be the same as when he left; that pets will be cared for, possessions protected, etc. If, for some reason, this is not possible let Isaac know so that he and his staff can effectively be supportive. Don’t bribe. Linking a successful stay at camp to a material object sends the wrong message. The reward should be your child’s new found confidence and independence. Please notify Isaac of any upsetting event which may have occurred prior to camp, or is to occur during the summer. This might include illness or death in the family, poor school grades, divorce, or moving to a new house or city. The camp staff is there to help. When seeing your child off at the bus, make your parting brief and pleasant. Long goodbyes and floods of tears are upsetting. The same applies for visiting days, too. Remember, our staff will always be there to help make you and your child feel comfortable.

Every camp asks for parents to fill out medical and profile information. Ensure that you complete the medical and activity profiles as completely as possible. While the camp is designed to provide instruction and recreation in many areas, certain youngsters may ave a more rewarding time if encouraged in specific activities. The camp staff’s knowledge of your child’s interests (and Phobias!) can be helpful in arranging the most appropriate program from the wide variety of activities offered.

Your cooperation is needed to ensure a successful summer for your child. Most children are resilient and adapt successfully to new situations. Parents, however, sometimes find it difficult to adjust to the youngsters being away from home. To prevent any negative effects on your children: Write or email frequently with good news and a cheerful tone – chatty and pleasant. Try not to telephone except in an emergency. Contact Isaac if you have a special concern. Be assured we will contact you if your child is experiencing difficulties. Remember children have access to payphones should they need to call you after the first week of each session.

When a “rescue call” comes from the child, offer calm reassurance and put the time frame into perspective. Avoid the temptation to take the child home early. Should you receive an upsetting call or e-mail, telephone Isaac immediately. Isaac and his staff will help. MAKE NO PROMISES. This is a sure route to failure. Talk candidly with the Isaac or your child’s head counselor to obtain his/her perspective on your child’s adjustment. Don’t feel guilty about encouraging your child to stay at camp. For many children, camp is a first step toward independence and plays an important role in their growth and development.

Camp is an experience that cannot be duplicated in any other environment, offering the opportunity for your child to achieve the poise and confidence that comes with the mastery of skills and the sociability developed as a vital participant in a structured and democratic society of his/her peers. French Woods works diligently to assemble the best staff possible. Countless hours throughout the year go into preparation and evaluation of the camp program. With your help, we are well prepared to serve the needs of your child.

How to Help Your Child Have a Great Time at Camp

Dear First Time Parent,

We send this letter out of concern for the welfare of your child. Each year, out of misguided love, one or two parents take actions that in the end are most damaging to their child. In order to help these parents avoid putting their children in harms way we have enclosed the following article. It was taken from a review of essays on child development:

How to Help Your Child Have a Great Time at Camp by Bruce Muchnick, EdD

Summer at camp is more than just a vacation. At camp, kids learn to appreciate the outdoors, experience the companionship of other children and young adults working as counselors, learn skills that enhance self-reliance, cooperation with others and a sense of life larger than one’s self. Hopefully, the acquisition and refinement of such skills will contribute in positive and significant ways to the child’s adjustment and will carry over into his/her adult years.

Camp makes it easy for kids to have fun, relax and experience the spontaneous joys of childhood. A summer at camp is often perceived by; children, parents, community leaders, clergy and social service agencies as a respite from the strains of everyday family life and the pressures and tensions of school.

To help your child have a successful time at camp this summer…

Think of camp as a learning experience. Sending your children to camp offers a wonderful opportunity for both you and your children to practice “letting go” — an experience that can contribute to the development of healthy independence.

Don’t buy a whole new wardrobe. Camp is more rugged than life at home. A child doesn’t need new clothes… and having well-worn clothes and familiar possessions will help ease the transition. This is especially important for first-time campers.

Listen to and talk about concerns. As the first day of camp nears, some children understandably experience uneasiness about going off to camp. Rather than acting on what you believe his feelings to be, ask good questions such as: “We’ve been busy packing your gear. What are your thoughts about your program?” Communicate your confidence in his ability to handle being away from home and remind him about “small victories,” successes he has experienced in other situations.

Have realistic expectations. Camp, like the rest of life, has high points and low ones. Not every moment will be filled with wonder and excitement. At times, your child will feel great while at other times he may feel unhappy or bored.

Solution: Try to maintain within yourself — and encourage within your child — a reasonable and realistic view of camp by mentioning “ups and downs.” Opportunities for problem solving, negotiating, developing greater self-awareness and increased sensitivity to the needs of others can help your child cope with successes and failures in everyday life. Resist sending your child off to camp feeling pressured to succeed. Just relax and have fun.

When you child is at camp…

Observe camp policy about phone calls. Many camps, for instance, discourage phone calls during the first 10 days. It often takes kids a week and a half or so to adjust to being away from home. A call from home might disrupt the settling-in process. Furthermore, it is difficult to figure out how a child is adjusting to camp during a long-distance phone conversation.

Communicate in writing. Summer camp offers kids and parents the chance to develop a rarely practiced skill — letter writing. Write as often as you want. Keep in mind that this is your child’s connection to home and family.  Email is wonderful and quick. Your letters should be upbeat. It’s fine to write that you miss your child, but don’t include things like “The house is so quiet without you” or “your dog misses you.”

Better: Ask specific questions in your letters about your child’s activities… bunk life… friends, etc. This will help him organize his letters home.

Packages are appreciated every now and then. But don’t send food — it’s disruptive if some kids in the cabin receive food packages and others receive nothing. Receiving food packages is contrary to camp policy. If your child asks you to sneak food packages, don’t. Even if you think the rule is silly, breaking a camp rule might interfere with your child’s sense of right and wrong.

Better: Send postcards, cartoons, newspaper and magazine articles, comics, game books, puzzles and other items that can be shared with friends.

Don’t make major changes at home. This is not the time to reconfigure your marital relationship, move to a new neighborhood, sanitize or gut and redecorate your child’s room or get rid of his fossilized frog collection. Help your child cope at camp. Most kids need a few days to adjust to life at camp and being away from home. During this time, kids miss their parents, pets, friends and familiar surroundings. Most kids cope with these concerns and — with the help of camp staff — build support systems. If your child’s letters contain urgent pleas for you to bring him home, resist the temptation to rush to camp. Avoid making deals, such as “Give camp one more week, if you’re still unhappy, we’ll bring you home.” This is sure disaster.

Better: Support your child’s efforts to work out problems with the help of the director and the camp’s staff.

Communicate your love and confidence in your child’s ability to work through problems. Remind him, if necessary, that he has made a commitment for the summer. Overcoming a longing for home, dealing with upsets in the cabin and learning to care for oneself are important challenges to be faced at camp.

Important: Talk candidly with the camp director. Allow the director and staff an opportunity to apply their expertise in helping kids adapt to the routines of camp life. Listen to the advice of the camp director, remember he’s been doing this for many years and has been very successful. Most adjustment difficulties can be worked through.  Later, your child will thank you for the encouragement to stay.

Keep in mind that some kids feel guilty when an experience like camp does not work out for them. They may feel they have let their parents down, or that they are not up to leaving home.  Failure will remain with a child for years.

Bottom Line/Personal interviewed Bruce Muchnick, EdD, a licensed psychologist in private practice, Glenside, Pennsylvania 19038. Dr. Muchnick advises camp owners, directors, camping professionals and parents throughout the year and works intensively with camp communities during the summer. He is the founder and director of Summer Camp Resources, a group of professionals who provide organizational and mental-health services to camp communities.

It is my hope that you found this letter informative and it has created some discussion. Please do not hesitate to call at any time. Remember it is our goal to provide your child with a positive experience that they will never forget.

Isaac Baumfeld
Camp Director