Taking Camp Home with You

Returning Home After a Summer at Camp Ramah in the Poconos

Rachel Abram, LCSW-C
Interim Director, Camp Ramah in the Poconos

It feels as though we just arrived at camp, the blank canvas of an entire summer stretched out in front of us all. Time at camp is simultaneously both fast and slow, and so it is hard to believe that your child’s time in this kayitz, summer 2023, is nearly over. After a year of planning, it has been our privilege to build a community together and to spend the summer with your child in the most holy of spaces. We have had the opportunity to unplug and in doing that, have connected in ways that are only possible to do at camp. In each and every camper, we have witnessed individual growth, skill building, problem solving, independence, resilience, and most importantly, the opportunity to be part of our community. In these last days of camp, we have heard our campers talk about their individual accomplishments, the friendships they have made, and the fears they have overcome. You might notice that not only has your child grown physically, they may also have increased confidence, appear more grown up, and have developed a side of their personality that wasn’t as prominent before. Perhaps they learned to dive or accepted a role in the play. Ask your children what new skills they have developed and the different activities they have tried. It is quite possible that your child is capable of more than they were when they arrived (especially when it comes to laundry and clearing the table!)

Over this kayitz, we have also listened to children talk about the uncertainty and adjustment that comes with the end to summer, as they prepare to return home. Many campers will undoubtedly experience a smooth reentry back home while others may find the transition more challenging. When your children arrived to camp, some may have felt homesick. As they return home, you may witness them feeling “campsick” - missing their friends, the community we built together, as well as the independence and carefree atmosphere that comes with summer. As much as you want to hear all about your child’s summer experiences, recognize that kids might not be ready to talk the first day they are home. Be patient and give them time and space to decompress as well as opportunities to connect either in person or virtually with the friends they are missing. If you are looking for ways to learn more about your child’s summer experience, consider asking questions about the best part of the summer, something special that happened or what new things they tried.

The end of camp is also hard for our staff. We have the privilege of getting to know your children - watching them grow throughout the summer and witnessing the joy on their faces as they succeed at a task with which they may have initially struggled. We teach our campers that camp is a gift, a gift so special that it is sometimes difficult to describe to those who do not have the good fortune to experience it themselves. We hope that your children find joy in the gift of camp throughout the year, as they come across parts of their life at home that remind them of their camp experience. We look forward to hearing from you throughout the year to discover how your children are growing and learning. If there is anything that we can do to support your children, please do not hesitate to be in touch. Wishing you a wonderful end to summer and looking forward to seeing your children back at Camp Ramah in the Poconos.