Christopher Thurber believes camp is too special to allow homesickness to mar a child’s experience. As a clinical psychologist at a New Hampshire boarding school, a consultant and professional staff trainer to camps in the United States and Canada, and waterfront director at his childhood camp, he has become an expert on the pangs some children feel while at summer camp and the anxiety experienced by some parents at home.
Thurber co-authored a 2007 academic report on homesickness while at places like summer camp, which was published in The Journal of Pediatrics. Based on his findings, Thurber developed a DVD-CD set on homesickness prevention, a project sponsored by the American Camp Association.
"Homesickness is a widespread experience. We found 95 per cent of boys and girls ages eight to 16 reported some feelings of homesickness," he says.
Rather than patting kids on the back and telling them that homesickness will go away, he believes it is healthier and more effective to look at prevention. Thurber’s study finds that preventative steps, such as coaching parents and teaching kids coping skills ahead of time, lowers the intensity of homesickness felt by first-time campers by 50 per cent.
Read more about Dr. Christopher Thurber.