At Camp Stonewall, parents are a vital part of our community. We understand that the best way to support any child living away from home is to forge a successful partnership with each child's family. You know your kids inside and out; we can't wait to get to know them, too! To learn more about how we incorporate parents into the life of camp, click the tabs below.
- Campers at CSW can contact home daily.
- Whether they are American or international campers, participants can bring one device to contact home.
- All devices are checked in at registration and can be borrowed from bunk staff for use.
- Wifi is available for international devices.
- Participants who do not wish to bring a personal device may borrow a camp mobile phone or iPad to contact home.
- Bunk staff encourage campers to use devices for approximately 15 minutes.
- Any devices not registered upon check-in will be collected and turned in to the Camp Office until camper departure.
- Calls are generally made in the evening (approximately 9:00pm), but accommodations are made for time differences as appropriate.
U.S. campers are strongly encouraged to call versus use FaceTime or similar video-calling programs. While families often assume the "face to face" will help kids adjust from life away from home, it can often create or worsen homesickness. (For international campers, video calling is sometimes the only option.)
- Parents may send one-way emails daily for their child to firstname.lastname@example.org. Messages are typically printed out at 11:30am for 12:00pm lunchtime delivery.
- Parents may leave envelopes or packages for delivery on specific dates at the Camp Office during registration.
- Parents may send mail or packages to:
26 Chase Road
Thompson, CT 06277
Campers love mail! However, sweets & treats should be sent in small amounts, as campers will consume candy or soda as fast as they can! When it comes to any notes or emails, stay positive in tone and content, encouraging that your child can do it! (If you focus on how much you miss them, they will too!)
CSW staff take 200+ photos daily and post them for parents to see how much fun we're having at camp! To view our daily photos, please click here.
Campers really like taking photos, too! But campers may not carry a phone at camp (even for photos). This can be a big change, especially for teens. If your child likes taking pictures, please encourage them to carry an inexpensive camera in their backpack! The Polaroid-style cameras are very popular (again!).
Is it possible for my child to come home on weekends?
Absolutely. Every family is different, and for some, sending a child to camp just for weekdays (Monday-Friday) is the best plan. If families would like to enroll a child for multiple weeks, but have the child return home on weekends, they can simply sign up for multiple one-week sessions. The tuition for this plan is the sum of each one-week session.
What happens if my child is homesick at camp?
Homesickness can happen to anyone - young or old - and can occur when a child stays away from home for an extended period of time. Sometimes homesickness manifests through nostalgia or uncharacteristic anxiety; it can be complicated by physical symptoms including crying, headache, tiredness, or upset stomach.
Homesickness may be new/unusual for a particular child, but it is very common among kids at sleepaway camp. It can happen to new campers or veteran campers, to children as young as eight and campers well into their teen years.
The most important thing a parent can do for a homesick child is to let them know they can do it. Often, if a parent over-sympathizes with missing home or feeling anxious, the child hears this as a sign of imminent failure. "They think something's terribly wrong," explains psychiatrist Josh Klapow. "But it's normal and adaptive to feel homesick for some period of time. It's just your emotions and mind telling you that you're out of your element."
Other common pitfalls with a homesick child include bargaining ("if you aren't feeling better tomorrow, you can come home") or focusing primarily on the negative ("what wasn't fun about today?"). Similarly, parents may be the typical go-to caregiver at home, but encouraging the child to contact home when feeling upset - instead of using camp staff resources - can hinder their adaptation to new environments/support systems.
So, what are some "dos" of handling homesickness?
-Ask your child about what they did during the day. What went well? What did they make? What skills did they learn?
-Keep updates about home simple and brief so there's limited concern about "missing out."
-Let your child know how proud you are of them for being mature and independent - staying away from home is a very grown-up thing.-
-Encourage your child to reach out to camp counselors and leadership staff if they are feeling upset.
-Follow up with the camp director and/or camp nurse by email and phone right away; we can share real-time updates on your child's well-being.
-Stay positive. Remaining calm and optimistic will help your child regain strength and confidence in their ability to thrive away from their home environment.
What are some "don'ts" of handling homesickness?
-Promising to come "rescue" your child early. Children will fixate on this promise and will filter out everything else. Even a ton of fun they're having in the meantime will be, in their mind, only until the rescue pickup happens. (It is virtually impossible to reverse this mindset once a promise is made!)
-Equating tears with disaster. Parents rarely have a chance to talk to kids by phone; hearing tears or anxiety can be surprising! But responding with equal alarm is a is a signal to a child that they don't have the independence, maturity, and resilience to overcome this normal, healthy challenge.
-Interpreting all things literally. With the rational distance adults have from the child's challenge, aim to sift through any hyperbole ("I haven't eaten any food in a week!!!") with a call to the camp director. We can provide insight into your child's specific obstacles as well as provide the strategies and tools to empower them towards success.
What happens if my child is sick at camp?
Illness at camp is not common, but it can happen. Camp Stonewall has a dedicated staff of Registered Nurses and leadership staff who are equipped to handle the vast majority of illnesses or injuries that can arise at summer camp. Campers can expect to receive top notch care during the day as well as overnight. If emergency treatment is ever required, parents are contacted immediately and decisions regarding care are made collaboratively. If a child must be removed from camp due to severe illness or injury, a refund for the remainder of the camp session may be available.
Can my child come home if he/she is mildly sick or homesick?
Occasionally, a parent may feel that a child's sickness or homesickness is best treated at home. Children may depart from camp to recover from illness/homesickness at any time. However, once the child leaves, he/she may not return to camp in that session. There are no refunds available for families who remove their child for mild illness or homesickness.
Camp Stonewall does not generally allow parental visits, due to the short nature of CSW sessions. Exceptions are made for full-time campers; we allow parents to come visit campers and take them offsite (eg: for a meal, for a shopping trip). Similarly, if a local parent wishes to drop off an item, they are welcome to do so at the Camp Office; we will deliver any item(s) to your child.
We would love to see parents at drop off and pick up! This is a great chance for families to meet counselors, chat with the directors, and see more of campus. If you have a long-term camper and you'd like to arrange a visit, please speak with Cody to discuss options.
Camp Stonewall provides transportation to several off-campus facilities in order to provide access to certain activities. Examples include but are not limited to swimming, kayaking, driving range, gymnastics, weekend beach trips, and SWAT adventure travel.
For participants coming from a distance, we also provide transportation (for a fee) to/from Grand Central Station in New York City, as well as Boston's Logan Airport.
In each case, participants are expected to follow the guidelines for safe travel in camp vehicles:
2. Seat belts should be fastened – one person per seat belt.
3. If campers are riding in wheelchairs, they are seat-belted and the chair in a locked position and secured to the
4. Noise level should be such as to not distract the driver. There should be no throwing of objects or other disruptive
5. Passengers should enter and leave the vehicle under the direction of a staff member and/or driver. If the vehicle
makes an emergency stop, passengers should follow directions of staff member and/or driver and use buddy
system if leaving the vehicle.
The director and/or director of health services will communicate with home if there is a significant injury or illness. Campers are free to communicate home daily, at which point they may relay minor injuries (eg: scraped knee) or illnesses (eg: stomach ache). In cases where minor illness may be reflective of additional concerns (eg: homesickness), the director and/or director of health services will communicate with home.