So far this summer I have not really had one serious bout of homesickness. But the kids around me have. The past few days have been really bad for some reason… we’ve been seeing a lot of campers becoming homesick in a bad way. It’s very difficult to deal with as the solution is normally to divert the kid’s attention away from it and back onto program, but that’s really difficult.

The problem with homesickness is that it manifests itself in various ways. A couple of kids get really angry with everything and so lash out at all around them, creating some extremely negative vibes everywhere. The past few days have been full of conflict, and yesterday my two favourite campers decided to fall out with each other over a game of basketball because they’re so cranky. It’s not nice to play referee in these sorts of conflicts, but it comes with the job. I dealt with it yesterday and I think I did pretty well. They seem to be OK this morning, but I’m not entirely sure. Either way they’re both going away for overnight campouts or horsepacks for a few days, so I won’t see them.

The hardest part of the job though is dealing with homesick kids when they get tearful. This happened this morning… and it was really difficult for me not to join in crying as well! When I see a kid crying I can’t help but feel really sad myself for them, which clouds my judgement and makes it difficult for me to remain professionally detached. Since I’ve been here I’ve been a friend to a lot of kids, but at times I also feel like I’ve been a psychologist to a number of others on top of that. Some of them have real issues communicating with others, or they’re so desperate to prove themselves that they get ultra-competitive and piss many others off in the process, not to mention beating themselves up for the remotest sign of failure.

It’s been pretty tough… but I’m really enjoying it.

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