Tips for First Time Campers

Getting Ready for Camp

Many campers and parents approach the first camp experience with a bit of anxiety - and understandably so! Whether your child is here for a few days or two weeks, camp is a new setting with a different schedule and new faces. Most nerves can be calmed by spending some time as a family preparing for this first camp experience. 

1. Bring a friend. Having a friendly, familiar face can make the first day jitters dissolve into thin air. Similarly, having a sibling at camp provides comfort and familiarity. These campers can also enjoy reminiscing about their camp experiences together long after they've gone home. 

2. Take a tour. Ligonier Camp is happy to provide free private tours throughout the year and summer season. You and your camper can check out cabins, rooms, bathrooms, and ask any questions about the camp while getting a great look at the camp village. 

3. Pack together.  Label, label, label. Include a favorite teddy bear or blanket to take some "home" to camp. Check out our "what to bring" page to make sure you don't miss anything!

4. Ask questions. What is your camper excited about? What makes them most nervous? Do they want a top bunk or a bottom bunk? Talk through things in the schedule that may cause anxiety (for many young campers, bedtime and shower time are the most difficult!)

5. Be excited! Your child will most likely go to camp and have a wonderful time, forgetting about any nerves they may have had. If you approach camp with energy and enthusiasm, your camper will follow suit. 


Homesickness

Homesickness is a natural response to the new and very different setting that camp presents to a camper. While most homesick campers at Ligonier are between the ages of 6-11, it is not uncommon for campers of any age to experience some separation anxiety. Ligonier is a no phone-call camp, meaning that we do not encourage campers to call home. Feel free to contact us to discuss this policy. 

Your child may experience a feeling of homesickness while at camp. In most cases, a camper may be homesick for the first night or first day of camp due to the new schedule and setting. However, most campers will settle in and overcome the feelings of homesickness altogether by the second day of camp. Do not be alarmed if you receive a letter sent during the first day of camp that sounds a bit forlorn. There's a very good chance that your camper has become more comfortable at camp and is having a great time!

If your camper is homesick beyond the first full day of camp (usually a Monday), Ligonier has a standard procedure for ensuring that you are aware of your camper's situation. 

  • A counselor in your child's cabin will discreetly notify the leadership team of any homesickness concerns by Tuesday at breakfast. 
  • Our Men's or Women's Director, trained to mentor homesick campers, will sit down and talk with the counselor or camper. 
  • A leadership team member will contact parents of camper, discussing any concerns or solutions for the situation. Many homesick campers are able to remain throughout the session and have a positive experience.  
  • The Men's or Women's Director will continue to check in with your child's counselor, updating you as necessary regarding their situation. 
  • If your camper's homesickness does not improve, picking your camper up early may be an option.  In this case, it is important to focus on the positive experiences and try again next year. 
  • Though we do not permit phone calls home from children, we are happy to take your phone calls and questions and provide you with information about how your child is doing.  Often, the trigger to make a happy child homesick is hearing mom or dad's voice on the phone line, which is one reason we avoid such calls. 

Our goal at Ligonier is to provide every child with the wonderful experiences that camping can bring.  If you have concerns about your child's upcoming camp experience, please do not hesitate to call the camp.