As we wrap up our summer, we have heard so many wonderful comments on the Kayitz BaBayit program. While many of the chanichim shared that they were sad that the Kayitz BaBayit program was ending, we also know that many of your children are facing an uncertain school year and are anxious about what the next few months will look like. We wanted to share some thoughts we’ve heard from them with you so that you can continue the conversations at home and help your children through these challenging times.
One of the biggest challenges your children are facing is the lack of a structured division between major life events. In a typical summer, there are events that mark the end of the school year, the beginning of Camp, and, of course, the transition from Camp back to school. Without physically traveling to Camp, those natural moments that provide closure and help the kids process their emotions did not happen. For those who are starting the school year virtually, this is going to be even more challenging. When we wrapped up our programs with the campers, we suggested finding a way to mark their transitions from summer back to the school year, such as resetting their workspace to make it ready for school or creating a ritual around putting away summer items and pulling out school items. These tangible markers of transition can go a long way to helping all of us process change and give stability in a time of so much uncertainty.
While we did our best to create meaningful connections during Kayitz BaBayit, many children understandably feel like they have missed out on life-defining experiences at Camp and school. To counter this anger, some are fixating on the anxieties an uncertain future provides. If you are able, we suggest having conversations with your children about the joys that are available to them and discussing the fears (and anger) they have about the future. Your children want to talk through these things – even if they do not always show it. Sharing your own feelings on these topics can show them that they are not isolated in these moments.
Finally, though it may be hard to believe, many chanichim shared that they are worried about their Judaic observance during the year. For so many of us, Camp is the place where we reconnect spiritually. Judaism’s rhythms and rituals can provide a comforting and grounding force for many of us, and many of your children are interested in helping your family explore new Jewish rituals this year at home. Lighting Shabbat candles, joining the Ramah community on Facebook for Havdallah, and engaging in a daily tefillah (prayer) practice are some ideas to consider. Let your kids be your guide.
If you are concerned about your child and would like to speak to a Yoetz (Camper Parent Liason) or another member of our support team, please reach out to Elana Yeffet, Camper Care Coordinator.
About the Author
Robbie started working at Camp in its fourth summer way back in 2000 as a senior counselor and music specialist. He spent six summers as Rosh Omanuyot HaBama (performing arts) and Rosh Drama and the past few three summers as a yoetzet (parent liaison). Robbie is a middle school teacher at the Epstein School in Atlanta, Georgia and when he’s not at Camp, he’s almost always hiking to a waterfall in the mountains.