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I’m excited to finally begin the journey of reading through Dr. Michael Thompson’s book “Homesick and Happy”. Believe me, in the midst of Camp, it’s sometimes hard to get away to share my thoughts about this book. BUT…I believe that this book is a great conversation starter with you, our Huawni parents, for a few big reasons.

First, I want you to know that as your child’s camp director, I personally take responsibility for your child’s development. Camp for us isn’t just a two-week, four-week, or six-week experience, it’s a crucial investment we make in hopes that what children experience will last year round. Our hope is that Huawni will be a regular, yearly dose that your kids get each and every summer, so that when they leave home for college, you can feel confident in the young man or young woman that is walking out your door. Likewise, this book is relevant because I think we can all be better parents. We like to think we’re pretty good at parenting, and we get defensive when someone else tells us how to do things. I, being a new parent, am probably most guilty of this reality. So, it’s refreshing to get a professional and realistic perspective on how to better raise our kids, even when it’s feedback we don’t like to hear. A good friend said that “comfort is the enemy of growth”…so my goal in reviewing this book is to get us parents a little uncomfortable.

I could see that children are often capable of taking responsibility that their parents cannot imagine, and that many children do less well when their parents are watching or supervising them.

In the introductory chapter of the book “Homesick & Happy”, Michael Thompson tackles two major questions that are crucial to us parents.

  1. Why did he write a book about sleepaway camping and it’s benefit to children?

  2. How can we as parents facilitate our child’s growth and how might we getting in the way of that growth?

While your child is away at Session 2, I want to delve into these two questions.

It’s interesting the Dr. Thompson’s research found a groundswell of parents who are essentially over protective (i.e. parents only allowing their children to go on field trips if they themselves attended). Do you see that happening with other parents you know?

When it came to child development, the view from camp was every bit as powerful as that from school, and in some ways more powerful, because at camp children feel in charge of their own growth.

So why are we reading this book while your child is at sleepaway camp? Dr. Thompson sums it best by saying, “Perhaps Homesick & Happy will remind you why it is so important that your child is at camp on his or her own, and why, if they’re lucky, you are watching from a great distance.” I’m excited to dive in with you and to remind you of why sending your child to Huawni is such a integral part to their growing up. Let’s get started!