Written by Program Director, Molly DeWitt
There’s just something about receiving a handwritten note in the mail that cannot be described. Seeing someone else’s familiar handwriting provides a sense of glee, gratitude, and connection. It has the inherent ability to make you feel special.
In my experience, few people write handwritten notes anymore, aside from birthday cards. Mail nowadays seems boring, something that only brings bills, ads, and the occasional newsletter. Handwritten mail, however, is something to be cherished and often saved to look at over and over.
Camp mail is altogether extraordinary to receive. You know if you have camp mail that someone has taken time out of their day to write to you and see how you are doing. Very rarely do we write friends or family notes anymore. It takes a lot more effort than we are accustomed to in regard to communication, which is now essentially instant.
I remember being so annoyed at my mom for forcing me to write thank you notes by hand as a kid whenever I received a gift, yet at the same time being delighted when she would take the time to send me a card at camp.
I received cards every year I was at camp, nine years total, even when I was in high school. I have many of them still saved in a box. My mom continued to send me notes while in college, during my two years as a Young Adult Volunteer, and as recently as when I was Pyoca’s seminary intern. Even now as a soon-to-be seminary graduate and camp Program Director, my mom sends me handwritten notes in the mail.
In our technological age, handwritten mail is almost unheard of. Generally, if we want to know how someone is doing, we just text or email them. We have camper email at Pyoca, but somehow it’s not quite the same as receiving a real letter. Email often has a sense of urgency, whereas postal mail signifies intimacy and precious time spent to convey a message to a loved one.
We’ve started encouraging campers, particularly the younger ones, to write home about their day or if they’re feeling a little homesick. One short note and one email a week is typically what I would receive from my mom and it was just enough to encourage me to have a good time at camp, while not making me homesick. “Hope you’re having fun! We can’t wait to hear all about it!” was just enough to remind me that I was loved.
I have parents and grandparents tell me often that they have saved the notes written to them by their children from 30+ years ago at camp. What a family treasure it is to be able to look back on a week of one’s life and remember the transformative experience of camp, all encapsulated in one letter.
If you are interested in sending your child a letter at camp, be sure to send it with the addressed formatted as below:
Pyoca Camp & Retreat Center
℅ Camper Name (i.e. Susie Camper)
Camp (i.e. Discover)
886 E CR 100 S
Brownstown, IN 47220
*Note: We greatly encourage letters and cards, but discourage sending packages to campers.