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Homesick and Happy

How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow

Hello Red Arrow parents, friends, and families. Eric here, Director of Red Arrow Camp for boys. My message here this morning comes directly from my desk, and bookshelf, at my home.  I just finished reading a powerful book called “Homesick and Happy” written by author Michael Thompson who is a clinical Psychologist, lecturer, consultant, and former seventh grade teacher. He has co-authored New York Times best sellers with focus on social cruelty, children’s friendships, and boys development.

Red Arrow Camp Homesick and Happy Cover

As a parent of a camper, and Director of our one of a kind traditional residential summer camp I often see much curiosity and skepticism with other parents and friends when I share the fact that Red Arrow Camp is a 7 week experience. Let’s be honest. Every parent dreads letting children go to some extent. Partly because we parents lack a clear road map of how and when to do it. This book changes that.

It is a powerful and very accessible book that helps build maturity and resilience in our children–and in us parents as well.  Never more than in today’s complex and distracting day and age should there be considerations for giving our children the platform to thrive on their own terms, disconnected, and engaged socially, emotionally, physically, and interpersonally. At Red Arrow we cultivate an environment for 7 weeks where boys ages 8-16 will “disconnect to better connect” with themselves and their world around them.  Consider this read as a powerful tool to better help parents uncertain about longer term camp experiences without fluff and whimsy.  This author connects dots in articulating the developmental gains in a way that we cannot ignore.

Red Arrow Camp Homesick and Happy Patches
Red Arrow Camp Homesick and Happy Back Cover

Do you have a friend you have told about RAC but is hesitant? Let me share this book with them. No strings attached, no agenda. I am not being paid for this endorsement! Ha. But I will offer a free copy of this book to any parent of a boy who may show skepticism or uncertainty about our 7 week camp experience, but is willing to explore the idea further. Just email Eric at to request your copy! No strings attached.

More about “Homesick and Happy”

“In an age when it’s the rare child who walks to school on his own, the thought of sending your ‘little ones’ off to sleep-away camp can be overwhelming—for you and for them. But a parent’s first instinct—to shelter their offspring above all else—actually deprives children of the major developmental milestones that occur through letting them go—and watching them come back transformed.”

“In Homesick and Happy, Dr. Thompson shares a strong argument for, and a vital guide to, this brief loosening of ties. A great champion of summer camp, he explains how camp ushers your children into a thrilling environment—an electronics-free zone, a multigenerational community, meaningful daily rituals like group meals and cabin clean-up, and a place where time simply slows down. In the buggy woods, icy swims, campfire sing-alongs, and daring adventures, children have emotionally significant and character-building experiences. They often grow in ways that surprise even themselves.”

“They make lifelong memories and cherished friends. Dr. Thompson shows how children who are away from their parents can be both homesick and happy, scared and successful, anxious and exuberant. When children go to camp—for a week, a month, or the whole summer—they can experience some of the greatest maturation of their lives, and return more independent, strong, and healthy.” — Michael Thompson PHD

Red Arrow Camp Homesick and Happy Segment
Red Arrow Camp Homesick and Happy Segment
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