Policy on Packages, Mail, Phone Calls, and Visits for Campers
The Aloha Foundation is proud to provide fully supportive, engaging, and interpersonally enriching camp programs for children (and adults). In support of this simple and organic community of active individuals, there are ways in which we seek to limit the intrusions of the external world. We curate these supportive communities through things like the restriction of access to technology and media, the implementation of a uniform policy, and a return to the simplistic, nature-based lifestyle. We would like to apply similar principles to our mail and package system and ask for your help in following our guidelines.
What we know: Campers love written correspondence, and people from home (parents, friends, extended family, etc.) should feel free to send it frequently and enthusiastically. Written correspondence creates excitement and when done properly, provides a healthy connection to home. Campers love to hear how their beloved pet is doing, how their local sports team is faring in July, or what is happening with a sibling or grandparent.
What we encourage: We strongly encourage parents to send correspondence that fits in standard envelopes, postcards, or flat mailing envelopes. We encourage written correspondence, crossword puzzles, family photos, books, or other things your child might enjoy during the quiet moments of camp like rest hour as long as it fits in the standard envelope. There is nothing more enjoyable than a long letter from a parent, snippets of news from home on the back of a postcard, or a photo of the family dog.
What we discourage: We discourage you from sending items that will distract from the camp experience of your child or other campers. Magazines and newspapers risk bringing the outside world back into camp—and we do receive newspapers at camp for older campers who want to catch up on world events. Certain magazines bring product advertisements or topics poorly suited for the wide age ranges found at camp. And while it is certainly normal to imagine the pleasure your children will have from receiving toys, games, or special items (e.g. Pokemon cards, markers, trinkets, a cool new flashlight), it is also highly distracting and creates a culture of competition or “want” with other campers. We have seen instances where a child receiving a toy or some “cool new thing” stimulates other kids to ask their parents for similar items—to the point where it becomes disruptive and detracts from the camp environment and our philosophy that “we make our own fun.” Please do not send these things to your child so their focus can remain on the transformative experiences we have prepared for them.
What we do not accept: We cannot accept food of any kind, or packages containing items that are not essential to the camp experience. If the package does not fit in a flat envelope, or is not somehow essential, we will probably not accept it. If you are unsure, please ask! And certainly there will be some miscellaneous forgotten items that are allowed, such as a favorite stuffed animal that was mistakenly left at home, or a pair of hiking boots for a camper that will be going on a five-day trip. Any packages that are in clear conflict with our policy will be held safely for your child until the end of the session or summer.
Note: There is a camp store that has all the basic essentials (flashlights, water bottles, hats, stamps, envelopes, batteries, and more) and we will let you know if your child is without something essential that we cannot otherwise procure. As with any policy at our camps, our goal is to create conditions where campers can focus on the “here and now” of their camp experience.
International Campers: Family members of international campers may send a letter to a camper via email to the camp office. The subject line should be “Letter for <camper name>”. Parent emails and letters from campers will be distributed as they are received.
Visits: The best time for a visit is after 10 days into your camper’s session. We want to be sure your camper has made significant connections and will be less likely to feel the pangs of separation when family leaves after a visit. Please let us know in advance if you wish to visit so we may be certain that your camper will be in camp and not out on a trip. At all of our camps, visits usually happen between 12:00 pm and 2:45 pm. Please bring a nut-free picnic lunch—all of our campuses are nut-free. If you need to visit at another time, please ask your camp’s office manager to check schedules and make necessary arrangements. Campers may not leave camp property at any time.
Phone Calls: Especially if you are a first-time parent, we understand your wish to hear your child’s happy voice at the end of the phone. However, phone calls do not always contribute to a child’s happiness or to their adjustment to camp. Sometimes the sound of a parent’s voice can alter the experience of even the most content and enthusiastic camper, interfering with their adjustment. So, in most instances, we urge you to communicate with your camper by mail and restrict calls to birthdays and other special occasions. In both cases, arrangements should be made ahead of time with the office manager, so that your camper will be close to a phone. We spend most of our time outside, so please anticipate the need to leave a message in order to make these arrangements in advance.