In a previous post, we shared ways that the camp as a whole can help campers who are feeling homesick. But the people who are most likely to need to handle this from day to day are your counselors. We’re sharing 8 ways counselors can help engage with kids to combat homesick feelings. 

Some campers need extra nurturing from a trusted counselor. And with a little help, they can overcome their sadness and join the fun. Here are some ways a counselor can offer their support. 

1. Sit and listen

People want to feel heard and kids are no exception. If a counselor spots a camper who appears down, they can offer to sit with them and lend an ear. Asking them questions and listening to the answers will help the camper feel seen and heard. It can also shed light on what type of encouragement they could use from their counselor. 

2. Validate their feelings 

Campers get homesick for many reasons. Maybe it’s their first time away from home, and they feel weird in a new space and routine. Or maybe making new friends has been harder than they thought. 

No matter what they are feeling, counselors should let them know it is completely normal to feel homesick. They are not alone. Many campers go through it and get past it and so can they. 

3. Offer them a pen and paper

Sometimes, a quick check-in is enough to help an upset camper feel better. Other times, there is more they need to express to get it off their chest. For those campers, counselors can offer a quiet space with a paper and pen (and fun coloring tools!). 

Writing a letter to family and friends back home is familiar and soothing. And they can either mail their letters out one at a time or create a journal. A daily journal will help them log their adventures and accomplishments and give them something to look forward to sharing when they return home. 

4. Get them outside 

Whenever possible, camp counselors should get their kids up and outside. That’s because it’s hard to feel bad with fresh air in your hair and warm sunshine on your skin. Plus, few people enjoy being asked to breathe when they are feeling upset. But when someone steps outside, it’s an automatic response to inhale and exhale. That’s because nature knows best. 

5. Distract them

It’s like the old saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” If campers sit inside for too long with their thoughts, their sadness will consume them. Counselors should introduce campers to a world of possibility at camp. There are so many activities to get into and start exploring. The more activities a camper gets involved in, the less chance there is of them remembering they are sad.   

6. Give them purpose  

Assign the camper a task. It’s the same thing as distracting them but better because it gives them a purpose. Asking them to take charge of certain tasks at camp can help them feel important and included. Because, they are! 

7. Encourage connections 

Connections can be powerful, especially for a kid. Making friends with someone who is feeling the same thing as you can create a special bond. In the same way, finding an older camper who has been through it before and survived can be uplifting. 

All friend connections at camp are special. Some come right away through shared interests and similar backgrounds. Other connections are built through team-building activities. Camp counselors can help encourage both, by introducing certain campers they think will hit it off and by planning plenty of group activities. 

8. Stay connected 

Once a counselor has checked-in with a camper, they should be sure to keep up with them. The campers will look forward to it.  Sure, summer camps are about those kid connections, but they’re also about having great adult role models. 

One nurturing and thoughtful counselor can teach a camper many things about leadership, self-identity, and self-worth that will stick with them for the years to come. Counselors should make it a point to sit with their campers for a couple minutes each day and talk. It could make all the difference. 

We, here, at CampSite understand how important it is to help campers combat homesickness. With that, we offer features that help campers stay connected with their loved ones while at camp, which include add-on modules like Phone Call Scheduling and a Parent to Camper ​email communication module!

To learn more about CampSite and these modules, Request your free, personalized demo today!