I spent 15 years working in summer camps and school outdoor education camps, most of that time as the director. The “no calls home” rule was one I strictly enforced, with very rare exceptions.
No offence the the other posters here who admit to having had a hard time, but in my experience the homesick kids were the ones with the least self esteem. Sometimes the apron strings were too tight, sometimes they just didn’t have the self confidence, but there was always some reason for it.
On the few occasions when I gave in to pressure from a teacher or someone who didn’t understand the psychology of the situation, the nearly inevitable result of a call home was a collapse into histeria and the kid going home from camp early. Never in my entire experience did a phone call actually cure homesickness.
But the kids who I talked with about finding the strength in themselves to stick around and overcome their homesickness (sometimes it was a daily conversation) were the ones who were crying the hardest when it was time to go home because they had such a good time and don’t want it to be over.
The other really important issue is that if there’s a real problem, their counselor needs to know about it. If a kid with a problem calls home instead of talking to their counselor, the problem doesn’t get dealt with. And if an irate parent calls camp to complain about something when their kid only told them one side of the story, that causes all sorts of unnecessary stress and headaches.
Then there’s the logistics – even with cell phones, how many camps are in areas where there is cell phone reception? If there’s just one phone line in camp, and each of 200 campers is allowed a single 10-minute phone call, you’re talking over 33 hours of total time on the phone. I just can’t be done.
So that’s why.