In about six weeks, the Iroquois Springs office is moving up to Rock Hill and getting ready for summer 2015. We will be putting the finishes touches on our facilities, programming and staffing, and we can’t wait for our campers to arrive for the best summer yet. Our camp families are also getting ready by filling out forms, picking up supplies, and talking about camp and all the amazing adventures that will take place. It is no doubt, a very exciting time of year for campers, but for their parents it may involve some feelings of anxiety. Sending kids off to camp can be emotionally tough on parents, and it’s only natural to have mixed emotions. You know that you made a great decision in choosing to send your child to camp, but letting go can be challenging. As parents, we worry if our children will make friends easily, put on enough sunblock, brush their teeth, eat anything with nutritional value, feel comfortable saying what they need, or experience homesickness. These concerns are natural, but it’s important to keep these feelings in check and keep the excitement your child feels about camp the main focus. Camp is a place where children develop independence, improve self-confidence, create real friendships, achieve personal goals, and have a lot of fun. Keeping the benefits of camp in mind will help when you find yourself feeling anxious, but just in case…here are some tips to remember during the coming months.
Practice… Some anxiety stems from the concern that our children won’t be able to take care of themselves without us. Ease this concern by having your child practice the things they will be doing at camp. Have them make their bed each morning, choose their clothing, brush their teeth, pick out their meals, etc… It’s a great way for them to prepare for camp and for you to gain confidence in their abilities. They will feel good about making decisions and not having everything done for them, and in turn will perform these tasks with confidence once at camp. And if they do need assistance, there is always a counselor who will guide and support them.
Be informed… Find out about the camp program in advance so that you have some familiarity with what a day in the life of your camper will be like. It’s often uncertainty that makes us anxious, so familiarize yourself with a typical day and who the key players are who will be guiding them.
Keep us informed…Be sure to fill out the online Camper Questionnaire so that we know as much as possible about your child before they arrive at camp. The more we know about your child’s habits and personality, the better we can take care of them and support them through their camp days. We want to know what they enjoy, what they excel at, what you want them to work on, how social they are, their fears, and anything else you want to share to help us make camp as successful as possible.
Stay Positive…Resist the urge to tell your child that you are nervous about them leaving home or that you are going to miss them too much. You want to build their confidence and not have them worry about leaving you behind. It’s okay to say you will miss them, but also let them know how excited you are for them and how you can’t wait to hear all about their camp friends and wonderful memories.
Know that there is a window into their world… For today’s parents, camp life is no longer limited to letters home and scheduled phone calls. Camp is now on view 24/7 with camp pictures and videos being posted on the Iroquois Springs web site. That is not to say we recommend you sit on the computer 24/7 and examine every picture (balance is good), but it is amazing to check in and see your camper in action.
Plan something nice… After spending the school year keeping up with your child’s homework, sports, and after school activities, take a deep breath and enjoy the freedom. It doesn’t mean you miss them any less if you have a moment for yourself. Even if it’s just to start a new project, or take a few days at the beach, know that they are in good hands and you can embrace having less responsibility at home.