With Open House in our rear view mirror and Opening Day less than 85 days a way, I thought it would be a great time to highlight a few “need to know” items as you start planning for camp this summer. There are tons of resources on our website, (found here), but the following is a quick read especially for the first time campers who might be a little anxious about coming to camp.
Obviously, you’ll want to check out our packing list, but there’s a lot more to getting ready for camp than just packing the trunk.
- Is your child ready to spend the night away from home yet? This is a big step towards gaining some independence and self-confidence. In the weeks leading up to camp, see if you can’t work out a few sleepovers with friends or family. Spending a night away from home is sometimes scary for children, so prep them for their stay at camp by allowing them a few short one-night experiences before summer rolls around.
- Invite a friend. Though we do everything in our power to build community and encourage acceptance once your child is here, if the new camper knows somebody at camp before they step out of your car, it can do a lot to ease anxiety. We do have a lot of campers attend camp without knowing anyone, and they usually hit the ground running, but if you can bring a buddy with you, it sure can help cut down on some of those initial butterflies.
- Talk camp up. Have conversations about all the fun activities, new friends and great counselors they will meet. Your excitement about the experience can go a long way towards getting your child pumped about camp if they are a little apprehensive.
- Do they know how to take a shower? This may seem silly to some of you, but if you have really young kids, make sure they know what a shower is and how to bathe themselves. A lot of young children do bath time as opposed to showers, so we want to make sure each camper is prepared for this part of camp too. Imagine, picking up your son or daughter after a week with no showers — not good! We are extremely active and get dirty a lot, so shower time is an essential part of each day.
- Pack simply and go through the luggage with them. One of the best things you can do for your young, first time camper is to pack daily outfits in gallon ziplock bags. When looking down in that trunk mom packed, many campers just grab whats on top and throw it on. They often don’t know what all is packed for them. Sometimes they revert to just grabbing what they wore the day before. Though our staff does all that they can to help the campers cycle through their clothes and use good hygiene, this simple step can make each day so much easier and give the child a little confidence boost as they know what to wear each day. The ziplock bag idea is best for the really young campers as it could embarrass an older child. Use good judgement here, but realize that even the older campers need to know what is packed for them, so involve them in that process.
Going to sleepaway camp for the first time is a big deal. Follow these simple steps with your first time camper and you’ll get them off on the right foot. Stay tuned for more information on preparing for the summer and be sure to read through the Parent Resources section of our website.
As always, we are here to help, so feel free to give us a call anytime to go over these and other tips for making summer camp a success.