Getting Prepared For Camp!
The temperatures may have plummeted, but it’s never out of season to have summer camp on our minds. In six short months, campers will be starting (or returning to) their camp life, and the adventure
of a lifetime. Returning campers cannot wait to get back to their camp friends, their camp home and all the joy camp offers. Parents of returning campers know that the memories of camp last all year long. They know the benefits of the camp experience, and how it fosters self-esteem, creates independence and increases maturity. But these parents were once new to the world of camp, and the parental concerns of what camp would be like for their first time camper.
The concerns of…is my child ready? Will they be homesick? Will they be able to take care of themselves? Will they make friends? Will they participate in camp activities? Though parents cannot monitor what camp activities their child will enjoy, the friends they make, or what they choose to wear or eat…there are some basic skills that children can practice at home to make the transition to camp easier, and tips to help parents prepare their camper for their first overnight camp experience.
Plan Sleepovers: Schedule a sleepover at a friend or relatives house to help your child adapt to being away from home for the night.
Increase Personal Responsibility: Encourage your child to be responsible for selecting clothes, getting dressed and personal hygiene. Have your child manage routines of showering and brushing teeth independently.
Have children help out at home: Campers are part of a team and are responsible for doing their share. Practice making beds and cleaning up after themselves at meal time.
Allow them to work things out: When sibling or friend disputes arise, give kids a chance to sort them out before intervening. If needed, assist with constructive ways to settle issues. Campers live together 24/7 and disagreements are bound to come up, the practice of working things out independently will greatly empower campers.
Review camp materials: Visit the camp web site or view the DVD together. Familiarity with the camp setting and routines will give new campers a stronger sense of what to expect. Attend the New Family Orientation prior to the start of camp to gain an even better sense of what camp is all about, as well as a chance to meet key staff and other new camp families.
Listen and Be Positive: Listen to any concerns your child has about camp, and reassure them that some anxiety about going to camp for the first time is normal. Being open and honest will help ease their worries and allow them to refocus on at they are most looking forward to at camp.
Prepare Together: Shop for bedding, clothing and other camp supplies together. Being a part of the process will get them excited about going. The camp season may be months away, but it is never too early to help our children (and ourselves) become more independent, confident and prepared for a happy and fun filled summer. Stay warm and get ready for summer 2014!