Prepping Your Camper for a Very Special Summer to Remember



It’s never too early to start talking about camp with your campers! Our campers historically come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. It is part of what makes Camp Carysbrook such a special experience. As a result of the pandemic and the events in our country and abroad, we recognize that campers and staff will be coming from an even greater range of experiences in what they are currently processing as a result of the world today.

Some campers may be back in school with pandemic precautions. Others may be in a hybrid model and are easing back into socialization with precautions. And some may still be in a full virtual or home school learning environment with little contact outside their family unit. We understand that this means that campers and staff will arrive at camp with a variety of emotions and expectations for the summer. We know that many campers will hope that camp is “normal” while others feel anxious about if camp is safe. In our Parent/Guardian Meeting dedicated to supporting our campers this past week, we gathered some pro tips with the following Q&A to share some things you can do starting now to make your camper feel at ease and manage expectations especially this year.


You said last year you would do everything to make camp happen and it didn’t. How do we know camp will happen this year?

Despite all our efforts and policies to open safely last summer, the virus was just so new and we did not have the data to prove the mitigation we planned on the advice of the American Camp Association. Now we know that camps who did not follow these mitigation strategies were not able to operate safely but 3000+ camps across the country operated successfully without community spread. The CDC published a study of four Maine camps and Colleen has had the opportunity to consult with one of the co-authors and medical director at two of those camps.

We have also gotten confirmation from the Deputy Secretary of Trade & Commerce from the Governor’s office that we will be permitted to open according to the guidelines the Governor will release in the coming months. When the Governor approves the guidelines it will be official and we will be in business. So while it is not all wrapped up with a bow yet, every indication points to getting that Executive Order in the coming months.


How can I organize my thoughts about what camp will look like this summer and get answers about my concerns and questions?

Camp Carysbrook Owner, Colleen Hagan Egl is hard at work with all levels of the government and health departments as well as our medical staff to make sure that camp can open and that operations will be safe for campers and staff. As soon as we have a firm idea of what will be required, Colleen and Erika will present a detailed plan for the protocols that will be essential this summer. What we can tell you right now is that we are collecting information and updating our policies and procedures to comply with potential guidelines and ACA recommended best practices. Once the guidelines are approved, the Governor will amend his Executive Order to permit overnight camps to operate.

You can check out the areas we are evaluating and see our proposed changes if they become necessary. Please note that this is a working document and not all policies may be required while some new ones may become necessary.


Campers may also find it helpful to use the daily schedule and identify activities they are excited about and times where they can “schedule in” their self-care and recharging routines. It may also help with any separation anxiety to know what those they have been living with in close quarters will be doing at those times as well. This could be a fun activity for all of you in preparing for camp.

If you still have questions, please contact Erika 540-382-1670 or



When I feel worried, anxious, overwhelmed at camp, I can…


  • Talk to my counselor
  • Talk to a friend
  • Journal
  • Read
  • Breathe/meditate
  • Craft/color/draw
  • Rest on my bunk


Let your camper know that this summer we will be discussing all these ideas during the first day and night when each cabin makes their cabin code. The cabin code is a set of values unique to the cabin in that session and helps campers and staff identify what they need personally and as a cabin unit to feel at home at camp. Some ideas we have discussed with our Head Counselor, Samantha Schlesser, who manages cabin row, include offering the option to have the inside of the cabin a quiet zone during free time for those campers who need alone time to recharge and having the porch and within the free time boundaries outside be available for more extroverted socialization and activity.

We encourage campers to be honest about how they are feeling and be empowered to discuss their feelings in a constructive way knowing that while they may have different approaches to self-care and recharging, they are not alone. So please discuss how their pandemic experience could be different from other campers and give them language to advocate for what they need while at camp. These are life skills that will transcend this moment in time.

Discuss what activities and hobbies campers have been doing at home to cope with negative feelings and discuss which of those items are available at camp or could be packed. The wide variety of new hobbies is some of the lemonade or silver lining to this time and we want to encourage campers to continue those that suit the camp environment from drawing to reading to hiking.

Whatever helps your camper relax so they can enjoy all that Carysbrook has to offer is important to discuss with Erika. You can reach her to discuss any concerns not covered here or a strategy to best support your camper this summer at 540-382-1670, erika@campcarybrook or by scheduling a phone call using her Calendly scheduler.

If your camper, new or returning, has experienced any concerns referenced in Confidential Info section of the 2021 Camper Handbook, it really is critical that you connect with Erika so that we may ensure that we can provide the necessary accommodations for your camper to be successful and that our staff is equipped with a plan to facilitate that camp experience within the professional constraints of our programming. We have a lot of experience with a range of challenges confronting young women and at the same time, the staff at Camp Carysbrook does not specialize in serving those with special needs, including mental, emotional, social, and behavioral difficulties, so preparation within those constraints may be necessary prior to your camper’s arrival. When it comes to partnering with you to prepare for the summer ahead, there is no such thing as over-communication, so please share anything, big or small, that you think could be of any importance during your child’s time at camp!