Homesickness at Camp – Let’s Discuss Transitions

First time at camp? First time away from parents? First time your children are away from you? It’s a great time to get some perspective on homesickness, and where you fit in.

Let’s look at the first two questions. They’re for your son. The third… for you. But there’s a connection that you need to make. It’s a time of transition for your son – and a time of transition for you. It’s prudent for you to do some research on what causes homesickness… because it’s completely natural for us to feel this.

Get comfortable with the subject and realize that we often project our emotions on others. If you need some time to get cozy with your feelings – then do so. And then find a time to address this. Has your son done a sleepaway with friends or with family? Maybe stayed with grandparents or cousins? Those are excellent first steps. But remember – if your son says he wants to go to camp, that he’s excited, and that he’s ready – then try to support those feelings and encourage his independence. Still concerned? Talk to us and we’ll see if this is actually the best time for him to start his camp journey (sometimes campers are more ready than their parents).

But pay attention to the transitions! It’s important to set up expectations and to address them. Homesickness often manifests itself when there’s a “sudden” transition or separation from home. Work on eliminating the “sudden” part and find a way to transition the fear of the unknown into the excitement for new adventures.

And homesickness at camp hits at different times of the day. For some, it’s morning – others meal times, others before bed or quiet time. Those are all transition times. At camp, we acknowledge that transitions are difficult for some campers – and we ensure that counsellors stay aware and see how your son is dealing with his feelings. And we don’t ignore them! Many of our counsellors are former Nominingue campers… they know what it’s like to be at camp, and they have been trained on how to help campers manage these feelings and focus on the positives… adventure, friendship, learning, exploring… and more!


Autism Spectrum | The terrible diagnosis, then the hope

As seen on

Just over 17 years ago, we received a diagnosis that placed our twins between moderate and severe autism. For those unfamiliar with the autism spectrum, it is the penultimate rung in terms of severity on the scale that defines this neurodevelopmental disorder.

In addition to the fact that this diagnosis sawed us both legs, it forced us to act quickly. The boys were just over 3 years old, they didn’t converse, they weren’t toilet trained, and they could burst into bloodcurdling tantrums at any moment.

We worked with a team of professionals in occupational therapy, speech therapy and applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy). In the bigger weeks, we were juggling over 20 hours a week of therapy. We also had support from the age of 4 from the Riverside School Board who placed the boys in an adapted class.

The boys integrated into regular classes in primary school. By the age of 10, their language and motor skills had progressed to the point where they were up to the appropriate standards. The hours of therapy decreased and gradually the boys integrated activities without requiring special supports.

The choice of activities in which the boys participated was dictated by two simple principles: have the boys shown an interest in the activity and is the organization providing the activity ready to host them? We have never hidden the fact that the boys were affected by the autism spectrum. In the vast majority of cases, agency representatives were very accommodating and wanted to understand how they could contribute. The list of people and organizations that have helped us is long, but the following organizations have contributed significantly to their progress: Baseball Saint-Bruno/Saint-Basile, Hockey Saint-Bruno, Camp YMCA Kanawana, Club Olympia Longueuil, Montreal Children’s Theater , South Shore Athletics, Saint-Bruno Figure Skating, Camp Nominingue.

They are on the way to achieving full autonomy. The two have even managed at different times in their careers to represent their college or university in sport while maintaining good academic results; Andrew in cross country and Johnathan in fencing.

Family support was also instrumental in the progress of the boys and helped to provide moments of respite. In particular Grandma Michèle who allowed us to continue our professional journeys. The efforts required to support the development of children with special needs can lead to a feeling of isolation because they make it difficult to practice social and sporting activities. We were very lucky that the boys had an older sister who understood their reality. Alexandra understood the impact of the specialists who surrounded the boys so well that she chose to progress in a graduate program in research and clinical psychology to help other children and families.

We are aware that our journey is unique and that each family with children with neurodevelopmental disorders has a different experience. We wanted to share our journey because at the time we received the diagnosis, the prognoses were very vague and it was difficult to formulate any real hope on the success of the interventions and the investments related to them.