Tips for parents
In order to ease the transition of your teenager from home to WWSC's outdoorsy natural environment, WWSC focuses on four core aspects: Constant Involvement, Focusing on the Details of Camp Life, Training the Best Staff and Supportive Preparation for Parents.
In WWSC, we believe that teenagers grow best when having structured fun and when they feel connected and accepted in a community at camp. Our job at WWSC is to get to know your child, his/her likes and dislikes and to constantly be involved in their 'camp life'.
- Wake-up calls and starting each morning with them with exercise and breakfast by the riverside.
- Bunk Huddles to debrief the teens and encourage them to reflect, share and deal with their emotions and thoughts after each hectic day.
- Saying "Good Night" to each camper at 'Lights Off'.
- Being an active part of each activity, whichever your child wishes to pursue, whether it be Outdoors, Music, the Performing Arts, Drama or Science as part of Knowledge for Life (see Not to Be Missed).
Focusing on the details of camp life
There are tons of little details that colour camp life which make it an almost magical memory for campers.
- Nature's sounds and sensations like the cool of the river waters, the shade of trees decades old, the sound of birds chirping outside their tents when they first wake up to muscles well-worked the day before.
- Hard work and efforts encouraged and applauded in every task.
- Teamwork, competition and fun.
- The freedom to express themselves whether in music, drama, dance, martial arts or just day-dreaming under a tree with a journal or a book.
Training the best staff
- Staff are required to go through team training sessions for conflict and stress management, youth empowerment, positive reinforcement and teamwork to prepare them mentally.
- Staff also have fitness training two months before camp, with WWSC's own qualified fitness trainer, Mark to be prepared physically for the rough terrains of the outdoors.
- Staff are seasoned camp counsellors who can offer stable support and encouragement for teens' building of character and be good role models.
- We also have responsible university volunteers who really get what being a teen is all about and how teens should live.
Supportive preparation for parents
A good deal of preparation before the actual camp can ease transition and allow the best camp experience for both your child, and yourself.
- We will provide you and your child with necessary information and knowledge for camp, from the packing list to what everyday life at WWSC will look like to tips on easing your child's departure from home (see below).
We offer these suggestions as guidelines. Certainly, you know your child better than anyone else but with adequate research, we hope you come to appreciate these suggested tips on how to handle moments with your child who may have last minute doubts about going off to camp (some points are taken from a published report in the journal of Paediatrics 2006, written by Dr. Christopher Thurber, Ph.D., research consultant with the American Camping Association).
- Homesickness prevention is the key to a healthy, positive camp experience. Involve your child in the decision to participate in the camp, so he/she has a sense of control. Decide if your adolescent, especially the younger ones, is really ready for a separation. Most times though, if parents are positive about such an experience, their children will follow suit.
- Work with your child ahead of time to learn more about WWSC, so he/she knows what to anticipate. Read all of the literature provided by the camp; check out the camp's website; get excited about WWSC together! If you don't have the resources, ring us up (see Important Contacts) or send us a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to assist you!
- Before the camp, avoid making comments that express anxiety or ambivalence about your child going away. Even an "I hope you'll be okay" or "what will I do without you" can cause a teen be preoccupied with imagining the worst that could happen while they are away, spoiling their time at camp.
- In order to engage each child in the WWSC experience and to give them ample time to socialize and be involved with the other campers, WWSC generally approves phone calls only in limited situations, such as a birthday or family emergency. Cell phone use is prohibited during the instructional part of the day. Because of the structure of our programmes and because we prioritize safety above all else, it becomes impossible to update parents with action shots of all activities that their child is involved in. Pictures only tell part of a story so we advise parents to avoid rushing to judgments and worrying.
- If your child brings a cell phone to camp, they will not be allowed to use it as we want campers to participate in all activities. We have found that it is usually not wise to talk with your teen right before bed as this tends to be the most 'tricky' time of the camper's day, and some teens may feel worse at these times.
- If your child is homesick, try to resist the urge to arrange to come visit your child the first or second day of camp. If there still is a homesick problem on the third night, the child would be best served by going home. However, please look up Vanessa Ong, Head of Counselling (see Important Contacts). Her primary purpose is to assist the teens in transitioning easily from home to camp environment. There will regretfully be no refund for kids who leave camp due to homesickness.
- Caution your child about keeping quiet about feelings of homesickness, doing something 'bad' in order to get sent home or trying to run away from camp. WWSC counsellors are always available to listen patiently to them and help them with such emotions.
- Lastly, do not panic after sending your child off and the house is unusually quiet! Adjusting to time away from home is all a key part of the growing process for adolescents as they mature. Teens need to learn to handle separation while learning to relate to new situations in order to become stable, responsible young adults in the future.
In a nutshell, only you know your child and whether he or she is ready to separate from you. The key is in the preparation, so that homesickness is not as significant while at the camp.