Cell phones are definitely a part of all of our lives and none of us like to be very far from our trusty phone. While we do not prohibit cell phone use, we do have some rules regarding their use and suggestions for campers' success.
Cell phones are absolutely off limits during all rehearsals, meals, and camp events (recitals, campfires). They are also collected at 'lights out' and returned in the morning. This helps campers from getting overtired because they have been on their phone all night.
Our opinion and experience with cell phones over the years shows that cell phone use is one of the major causes of homesickness in new and younger campers and the biggest reason for campers not having fun by getting involved. First-time campers who frequently call friends and family or play games on their phones during free times have a difficult time adjusting to camp life. They miss opportunities to interact with other campers, engage in fun activities and begin the BHMC tradition of making life-long friendships. It may not make sense to you if you have never been to a residential camp, but frequent calls home or from home usually guarantee homesickness.
Most 'veteran' campers hardly ever use their phones. They are not worried that that are missing something back home because they have waited all year to return to a favorite place, where they reunite with 'camp' friends and become active in all the extras that camp has to offer.
So parents, please understand that "No News is Good News"!
Homesickness is not some horrible disease; in fact, it is sometimes preventable and completely curable! It is somewhat common and normal for campers to experience a brief case of homesickness (no more than 2 days), especially for the younger camper and/or the camper who is away from home for the first time.
One of the best ways to overcome homesickness is to GET INVOLVED and MAKE FRIENDS. You have chosen to come to music camp to have a great musical experience, which we can almost always guarantee. But an outdoor camp experience should and can be so much more. It involves some effort on your part to step out of your comfort zone and make friends, join activities and be open to try new things with new people. The full camp experience won't occur if you resort to your cell phone during free times.
Other ways to help prevent homesickness are to prepare your new and first-time-away-from-home-camper. Try a weekend sleep-over with someone other than relatives. Talk with them and explain that things will not be like they are used to at home - the routine, food, bedtime, and cabin-mates. Encourage them to be flexible and accepting. Encourage them to accept this adventure and make it their own. They deserve to develop and share their musical talent. Also encourage them to seek help from a counselor or staff member if they are experiencing any difficulties. ALL of our counselors and most of the staff have been campers before and really do understand what your camper may be going through!
Another suggestion is to acclimate your summer sleep routine to our camp sleep routine at least 1 week prior to attending camp. Most 7-12 graders go to bed at later times during the summer and sleep later the next morning. While that may work at home, our camp day begins at 7:30 AM! We expect all campers to be awake and at breakfast by 8 AM and ready to play their best in their first rehearsal at 9 AM. We try to enforce our "lights out" and sleep time at 10:15 because we know a tired and sleepy camper is usually a cranky camper the next day, which also promotes homesickness.
Campers will be eating camp food, prepared for 200+ people by our wonderful kitchen staff. It will not be your mother's cooking or like going out to dinner. It will be nutitritious, tasty and varied. The meals are 'common' foods - baked ziti, chicken tenders, macaroni & cheese, daily salad bar, vegetables, wraps, cereal, eggs, etc.
We offer vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut-free alternatives at every meal - but, special diet requests must be made in advance of camp on the Health History form.
While the general rule for bringing food to camp is No, we understand that some campers choose to bring their favorite comfort snacks. As long as it is NON-PERISHABLE and kept in an airtight container, it will be allowed. Insects and small animals will most definitely become your new friends if food is left unsealed. It is also nice to bring things that you can share with your cabin-mates. Access to fresh water and fruit is available 24-7.
OUR FANTASTIC KITCHEN STAFF!!!!