From the Desk of Camper Care

Getting to know your Camper Care team:

Hi CMC! My name is Charlotte Stern and I am so thrilled to be filling the role of Director of Camper Care. I’m a recent graduate of SDSUs Masters program of Early Childhood Mental Health and I have a deep passion for helping children and teens feel seen, connected and supported. I’m honored to be working at CMC who is at the forefront of creating a space of inclusivity for each camper. Many say there’s no place like camp, but from the smiles, moments and love I see from these campers, there’s actually no place quite like Camp Mountain Chai. 

Hi CMC! My name is Sasha and this is my 9th summer here at camp. This year marks the third year of my staff experience, where for the past two summers I was a general counselor for the Shorashim unit, our youngest campers. I really enjoyed my time there but I am also thrilled to be a Camper Care Specialist this summer. Growing up here at Camp Mountain Chai, I have had many experiences with counselors becoming a big part of my life and I hope to become that person for many of your kids. Camper Care plays a very important role in our camp community and I feel very lucky that I have the opportunity to get to know many different campers on such a personal and supportive level. 

Tips & Tricks 

Getting ready for the exciting adventure of sleepaway camp involves two important things: your child’s mindset, and yours. If you believe in your child and feel positive that they will do well at camp, it will help them feel confident too. By fostering open communication and focusing on their expectations and worries, you can help them navigate this new adventure with confidence and enthusiasm. Below are steps that we feel at CMC, will help best prepare your children to experience the magic of camp. 

Preparing for worry

When it comes to addressing worries, it’s important to let your child take the lead. Encourage them to express their concerns openly and actively listen without imposing your own worries onto them. By giving them the space to share their thoughts, you can help prepare them to face their specific concerns head-on, fostering their independence and resilience. Your child can pick up on your feelings even if you don’t verbalize them. What you want to share is your confidence in your child and reminding them of the strength and courage they have to navigate their feelings and any challenges that come their way. 

Provide tools for connection

Part of being at camp is creating new friendships. If you know your child may be nervous about connecting with others, providing them with different activities such as mad libs, card games or group activities, will help them break out of their shell, and build upon their friendships with those around them.  

Create a communication plan

At CMC we know communication is key for many of our campers and parents to feel connected. Pack your child envelopes that are pre addressed and stamped so they are able to write whenever they feel the need and you can guarantee they’ll get to the right place. CMC also provides a system where you can email your camper, and we print and deliver those messages to them daily. Campers can write back by hand using special, barcoded forms so that you can get a response within 24 hours.

Go through a “rehearsal”

If your child hasn’t experienced being away from home without you before, it’s a good idea to plan a sleepover or two at a friend’s house or even their grandparents’ house before it’s time to leave for camp. It will help show them that they can have a lot of fun and do just fine even when you’re not there.

Include your child in camp prep

Let your child feel a sense of ownership over the experience. This opportunity encourages them to think about what they need, plan accordingly, and take ownership of their camp essentials. Packing together allows your child to personalize their camp experience and make it truly their own. They can choose their favorite clothes, bring items that provide comfort from home (like a stuffed animal or photos), and include any specific items that reflect their interests and hobbies. This personal touch helps create a sense of familiarity and comfort in an unfamiliar environment, making their camp experience more enjoyable.

We hope these Tips & Tricks help you and your campers get ready for the best summer here at Camp Mountain Chai, where we will be waiting to welcome them with open arms!