What to Do If You Feel Left Out at Sleepaway Camp
Sleepaway camp can be tough.
At camp, friend dynamics can change on a dime, which means it's not uncommon to feel left out from time to time. Should that happen to you at some point this summer, follow these tips to help get yourself back on track.
Talk to Your Counselors
Your counselors have their eyes on everything, and their job is to make sure all of their campers are happy and enjoying camp. If you're feeling left out, let your counselor know. He or she may have a sense of campers who you might get along with, and they can also help smooth any rifts or ease tension among bunkmates. What's more? If your counselor knows you're struggling to find your footing, he or she will probably pay some extra attention to you, which could be just the boost you need to go seek out people you want to be friendly with.
Try a New Activity
If you're feeling left out, try not to be passive and throw a pity party for yourself. While that route may be tempting, it won't help you in the long run. What will help is expanding your horizons and challenging yourself in different ways. Should your bunkmates be less than welcoming, go ahead and try a new activity, specifically one you've never taken part in before. Not only is this a great way to meet other campers who you might not have interacted with in the past, but it's also a solid way to teach yourself a new skill or develop a different interest.
Make an Effort to Socialize With Kids From Other Bunks
Unfortunately, some camp bunks tend to be a bit cliquey. If you feel like your bunkmates aren't including you as much as they could be, go ahead and make an effort to socialize with kids from other bunks. If they know your situation, chances are they'll be especially nice and might even include you in some of their own activities. Believe it or not, most people have been in your boat before. It could also help to seek out other people who might be having some trouble fitting in, too. Those in similar situations will likely be especially eager to make friends, and they'll probably be very grateful if you approach them and make the first move. When it comes down to it, everyone just wants to be liked and accepted.
Participate, Participate, Participate
If you're feeling left out, one of the best things you can do to improve your situation is to participate in as many activities as you can. Aside from what you do during the day, you should be heading up to the canteen each night, taking part in whatever evening event is going on and being an active participant in things like color war and the play. If you're able to immerse yourself in everything camp has to offer, the rest will likely follow suit.
Seek Out an Older Sibling or Friend
If you've given all of the above a shot and nothing has worked, try seeking out the advice of an older sibling or friend. Your siblings know you really, really well and will likely have a good idea of what to say to both comfort you and push you to keep trying when it comes to the tricky camp dynamic. If there isn't a sibling in the picture, try seeking some advice from an older camper you might have a connection with. Many camps often pair younger campers with more experienced ones, and this is where something like that could come in handy. If all else fails, circle back with your counselor again and see if he or she has any additional advice.
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