Childhood Development

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Preparing for Summer Camp

March 20, 2014

By: “H” Rothenberg Triple C Camp Co-Owner and Director

Now that you have chosen the right summer camp for your child, it is time to prepare for a wonderful summer full of fun, new friends and exciting experiences. Whether this is your child’s first time attending a summer camp or she/he is a seasoned veteran, preparation is important for a positive camp experience. To help your child have a successful time at camp this summer…

1. Make plans for a visit to the camp with your child, especially if she’s/he’s anxious about going to camp. If visiting isn’t an option, then spend time browsing through the brochures and/or visit the camp’s Web site to get a feeling for the camp, cabins and facilities.

2. Consider arranging for a first-time camper to attend with a close friend or relative. For overnight camps it is best if the buddy is close in age, so they can room together in the same cabin.

3. Begin packing several weeks in advance to avoid last minute shopping trips or scrambles to find that ‘must-have’ favorite shirt. Most sleep-away camps will send a packing checklist to get you started. When packing for summer camp, be sure to:

  • Familiarize yourself with any camp regulations regarding food and money
  • Put your child’s FIRST & LAST name in all clothing with a laundry marker and make sure she/he helps you pack, so she/he knows what they are bringing
  • Include plastic bags or a laundry bag for wet or dirty clothing
  • Encourage your child to pack a favorite picture or stuffed animal as a reminder of home
  • Tuck in some stamped envelopes or pre-addressed postcards

4. Don’t buy a brand-new wardrobe. While one or two new items are fine, camp life can be a bit rough on clothing. Children, especially first-timers, will also find “old favorites” reassuring when away from home.

5. Spend time talking to your child about what camp will be like and listen to any fears and concerns. Remind your child that apprehension and homesickness are perfectly normal feelings.

6. Fear of the unknown is usually the biggest worry for children attending camp, so time spent at home “practicing” a typical day at camp may provide some reassurance and self-confidence. Be sure to practice anything which your child may need to know but not be used to, from doing laundry to walking after dark with a flashlight.

7. Send a letter to your child at camp before camp begins so that she/he will have a letter waiting for her/him on that first, very important day. Make sure you mention what a fantastic time they will have at camp and how proud you are of them.

8. Look into your camp’s phone call regulations and discuss them with your child. If the camp has a no phone calls policy, then honor it and make sure your child also understands this policy. If you do plan to make calls, then reach an agreement ahead of time with your child on when and how often.

9. Cell phones: Most camps are a no cell phone area for campers. This is a great growing opportunity away from the family. Support the camps policy and leave cell phones at home. As for other electronics, many camps will allow campers to utilize electronics while on their bed during rest time, or for a few minutes before going to sleep. However, there is a risk in bringing valuable items away from home. My suggestion would be to bring an older model that if it gets broken or misplaced there will not be as many tears.

10. Care packages can be the highlight of your child’s day when at camp, but think smart when putting one together. Check with the camp regarding guidelines on food as many do not allow it. If you do send food, be sure to include enough for everyone in the cabin! Other items which are easily shared with cabin mates include games, cards, Mad-Lib books, etc. Other good care package goodies include a disposable camera, journal, address book, water bottle, or a t-shirt or pillowcase for autographs.

11. Be realistic. Like the rest of life, camp will probably have its high and low points. Make sure your child does not feel pressured to succeed at camp, and remind her/him that the main purpose of camp is to relax and have fun, learn new skills and to make friends.

If anyone would like to have personal contact for camp advice, I can be reached anytime
434.2932.2529 or [email protected]

Yours in camping,

“H” Rothenberg