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D. Camp & Homesickness

D. camp


Iowa Soccer's D. Camp is a wildly popular overnight experience for players in the eligible birth years.  It's a residential, soccer-filled experience held on the campus of Grinnell College.  D. Camp is intensive with technical, tactical, and physiological sessions, but also so much fun.  Every year the 180 boys and 180 girls spots fill within minutes of registration opening.  Maybe it's the 9v9 World Cup?  Maybe the 4v4 competition?  Or...the dining hall food...?!

Homesickness & How to Help the Chaperones Manage it

We have run this camp enough years now to know there will be homesick kids and the chaperones will take care of them!  Camp chaperones are parents who have volunteered to serve as surrogate parents for the campers.  They have always been responsible and caring individuals who truly keep an eye out on every child.  With this in mind, if your child gets homesick, we ask for your commitment to help our surrogate parents do their "job."

If your child calls you and is homesick:
  • DO NOT tell your child you will come and get him/her!
    • Under no circumstances is it acceptable to show up unannounced and walk into camp to take your child.
  • Encourage your child to talk to his/her dorm floor chaperone for help getting through those feelings.
  • Encourage your child to call home only once/day, and never in the middle of the night.
    • We've found that when middles of the night calls occur, the child wakes up his/her roommate and eventually the dorm floor chaperone, who is then up the rest of the night trying to console the child.
  • Regarding phone calls home, the chaperones report every year that the homesick kid is typically worse after calling home than if they (or you) didn't call - and instead they tried to work through the challenge of those feelings.
    • Sometimes the kids are so upset after hanging up they can't play soccer during the next session, so they miss out on the reason they are at camp.
    • Chaperones and coaches have asked us to consider banning cell phones, but in this day and age, we know that isn't realistic. Therefore, we request that you minimize phone/text communication with your child and instruct them to do the same.  If homesickness is the issue, encourage your child to lean on their dorm floor chaperone.
Don't freak out the chaperones!

Many years ago, we had a parent show up on campus after 10:30pm.  The parent had been in cell contact with the child, but neither the child nor the parent notified a chaperone.

  • Fortunately a chaperone was making her pre-lights out rounds and noticed a truck drive up to the dorms where three campers were standing outside waiting.
  • The chaperone handled it well and the kids confirmed the identity of the parent, but think about this situation from the chaperone's standpoint...
Trust the chaperones and the processes we have in place

The chaperones have volunteered to manage the risk your child faces at an overnight camp.

  • They do bed checks, are constantly taking attendance and are charged with essentially keeping the outside world away from your child.
  • There are no circumstances under which it is acceptable to "just show up" and take your child.
  • If your child is having so much difficulty with homesickness that he/she truly needs to leave camp, you need to contact the Head Chaperone to discuss. 
Cell phone/communication NO NO

Another situation that came up many years ago (before we included this in our instructions!)

  • A player called home and complained about the position he/she was playing in 9v9 games.  He/she then handed the phone over to a chaperone because the parent wanted an explanation.
  • First, this is a coaching issue, not a chaperone one.
  • Second, it is simply unacceptable to question the developmental training the coaches are doing at camp.  Camp is not the regular season and it is a time for players to play different positions and try things with and without the ball they may never get the chance to in their club setting.
  • If you are truly uncomfortable with this developmental philosophy, this is not the camp for your child.
 On behalf of the chaperones, we appreciate your consideration of these issues and ask for your support should they arise for your camper.