We are delighted to have the opportunity to welcome your child to the American Youth Foundation! Our hope is that we can provide meaningful and rich experiences that will inspire your child to discover and develop his or her personal best. We hope to collaborate with you and your child's school in order to get the most possible out of his or her experience in one of our programs.
We have found the following strategies to be helpful in preparing your child for their time with us:
Before arriving, talk to you children about being away, stressing that it may involve challenges that will them to grow and gain new confidence. Mention homesickness and let them know it is normal to miss the "familiar" of home.
Talk about times they have felt challenged and were successful. What did theydo in that situation? Could they do similar things to manage the challenge of homesickness?
Talk about what they are looking forward to. Focus on things they may only get to see or do while at Merrowvista or Miniwanca; things that aren't a part of their day to day life at home.
Involve children in the process of packing and preparing. Nationally known clinical psychologist Wendy Mogel writes, "A fourth grade teacher told me that she can predict which children will be homesick on the annual four-day nature retreat. 'The ones who can locate their flashlight, sweatshirt, and warm socks in their duffle bag are not homesick. The ones who can't find their stuff are.' She explained that this first group of children have either packed their gear themselves or with a parent's help. The second group, the homesick, has been packed for."
Encourage your children to talk with their teachers or chaperones if they are starting to miss home; we can help!
We hope that after your child's time with us you will have an opportunity to continue the discussion of the work done here with him or her. For this, we would encourage you to ask any or all of the following questions:
Did you get to know anyone you didn't know very well before?
Did any of the activities help you grow? Do you see anything in your world differently now?
What did you learn about working in a team with your classmates?
What did you learn about taking care of the earth?
Thank you in advance for allowing your son or daughter to attend a program with our organization and spend time with us. We trust that they will have had an enjoyable experience and return with many stories of what they have done. Please do not hesitate to explore these stories and memories with your son or daughter and to find out some of what they are taking away from the American Youth Foundation.
If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to contact us. Direct contact information, staff information, virtual tours and downloadable forms can be found by clicking one of the links above to our sites in Michigan or New Hampshire.