You dropped your child off at Pine Cove, and now you’re counting down the seconds until you get to see that smiling face again! You’ve seen the pictures of the fun your camper had, but now you can’t wait to hear all about it. Whether it’s on the drive home or in the weeks to come, here are six tips on how to keep the conversation circulating.
- The right time to talk about camp really depends on your child. Some campers talk nonstop the entire drive home, and you might struggle to get a word in edgewise. Just enjoy the chatter while it’s flowing freely and save your questions for later. Other kids might be so tired (ahem… grumpy) that it’s best to reserve the heart-to-heart conversations for when they are better rested. You might even want to plan a special time in the next week to grab a scoop of ice cream while you get the scoop on their camp experiences.
- Understand that your camper may be overwhelmed with all the information they want to pass along. Sometimes they may even need time to process internally before they can communicate it externally. Be patient with them.
- Don’t know where to start? Try asking your child to rate their week on a scale of one to ten. Even if your child isn’t ready to fill you in on all the details of the week, this question will help you know their general opinion of the week.
- Try to avoid yes/no questions. Open-ended questions get you longer answers and more details and give you direction on any follow-up questions.
- Using camp lingo in your questions helps you and your camper speak the same language. Don’t know the camp lingo? No worries, there are some questions below that give you a good place to start.
- Some vehicles might be filled with multiple campers. Sometimes they struggle with interrupting each other. Other times one child may monopolize the conversation while the other sits silently. Either way, you can help everyone share their stories. Encourage them to ask each other questions about their week. Or pass an object around – whoever has the object gets to share one thing about their week before they pass it to someone else. Bonus points if you find a pine cone to be the object to pass!
Questions to Consider
Need some help knowing what to ask? Here are several suggestions for each age group.
It’s best to ask specific questions to this age group, but get ready—one question can bring a barrage of stories!
- What was your favorite activity class?
- Tell me about the skit!
- What was your favorite meal?
- Can you tell me one of the cheers your cabin did?
- What were the Club talks about?
- Can you tell me a verse you memorized?
- Tell me something you learned in Bible study or in a Club talk!
- What is something new you learned about God?
Middle School Campers
With this age group, you can go a little broader and deeper in your questions, but don’t forget to focus on fun!
- What were your high and low of the week?
- What new activity classes did you try?
- What part of the skit made you laugh the hardest?
- What were some of the camp names you thought were funny?
- What was your favorite theme night?
- What was the Bible study about?
- What was one way you were challenged in your walk with God?
High School Campers
Ask about all their experiences, but ask about how their heart was impacted, too.
- How did everybody in your cabin get along?
- Tell me about the camp dance!
- How did you spend your free time?
- When did you laugh the hardest this week?
- Which activity class was your favorite? Which theme night?
- What were some qualities in your counselor that you admired?
- What was the most impactful part of the Bible study?
- Did your time at camp inspire you to make any changes in your life?
More important than picking the right words and the right time is simply choosing to have the conversation at all! It’s easy to get home, wash the dirty laundry, and just get back into a normal routine. Instead, allow your campers (and when necessary encourage them) to share their camp experiences with you. Taking time to engage and connect with your camper strengthens your relationship, lets them know you care, and allows you to get a better glimpse into what we hope was the best week of their summer!