Towering Pines Blog

Mixed Emotions are Perfectly Normal


If I had to guess, there is a myriad of emotions you are seeing in your camper/s as we can now count the days until the start of camp on two hands. Excited and nervous. Happy and anxious. Hopeful and apprehensive. Assured and concerned. While these emotions seem contradictory and hard to navigate, they are NORMAL and to be expected. Yes, you heard that right! Mixed emotions are common and part of embarking on an unchartered (or even familiar) journey.

First time jitters for new campers is not something unusual for 2021. There are so many unknowns about what camp life is like at this time EVERY year. What will I see when I pull into the driveway? How will I know where to go? Where is my cabin? Who are my counselors? Who are the other campers in my cabin group? Will I make friends? Where will I put my stuff?  Where is the bathroom? What is the food like? What activities will I do? What is the schedule? Did I pack everything I may need? The list goes on .  .  .

Believe it or not, returning campers have jitters too. They may not surface as readily as in the inaugural summer; however, they are there, just the same. Each kid brings with him the successes and challenges of the previous year. Changes in a friend group, academic struggles, a move to a new location or school, extracurricular activity demands, and family dynamics are just a few that come to mind. Wondering about their counselors and new cabin group are unknowns every year even to a known experience.

This summer is unique in that for veteran campers, it has been almost 2 whole years since camp has been in operation. A lot can and did happen in 22 months. The elephant in the room is whether or not camp will be the “same” as in previous summers. The answer to that is what it would be in other years. Camp can never be exactly the same as it was the last time we were together (pandemic or not). The beauty of each year is that there are always new campers, new counselors, new cabin groups, new songs, new twists to old activities, and new adventures.

Yes, there are some new protocols in place, especially at the beginning, that will be different as we work to form our camp “bubble”. The magic is that these new shared experiences will become the foundation for our community to form. We can’t wait to see what new ideas this year will turn into new traditions next year. We may stumble onto something that is even BETTER than it was before!

We also recognize that new and returning campers have justified concerns this year in particular that feed into having mixed emotions as camp approaches. I’m excited to see my friends and/or make new friends, and how will I adapt to being face-to-face with people again? I’m comfortable living at home and what will it be like to live in a group that is not my immediate family? I’ve been attending hybrid or virtual school and so how will I manage a more active lifestyle? My parents take care of me when I don’t feel well. What if I get sick this summer? I’m used to having the security of my family 24-7. How will I move in without the help of the people who send me off or bring me to camp? (By the way, counselors and staff will be ready to help campers feel comfortable and acclimate to being at camp. They have been taking part in pre-camp training for the past week and have another week to go!)

I think it is safe to say that in 2021, ALL of us are experiencing emotions and feelings that are on opposite ends of the spectrum about the start of camp on Saturday, June 26th. If we fast forward to the end of the summer, we will see a range of emotions there too. Campers will look forward to seeing their parents & siblings and sad at the same time to leave the camp community of friends who have now become like a 2nd family. They will be excited to share about their experience and yet may have trepidations about going home and reuniting with friends and getting ready for another school year.

The difference on the return trip home is the confidence and independence that will be accompanying each camper following several weeks at Towering Pines. It is a sharpened set of tools in our toolkit for what lies ahead until we can be together again.

See you soon! We can’t wait to greet your camper/s and for summer to get started!