April showers will bring May flowers, and do you know what May flowers bring? CAMP, of course! We know that the change in weather has all of us thinking SUMMER, and we hope that these tips will be helpful to you during the excitement of the final countdown. Even if you’ve sent an older child off to camp before, these TOP TEN TIPS for NEW CAMPERS might be worth a refresher!
1. Communicate with the directors about any and all family, social or medication issues or changes during the year and in the summer. Nothing is too small! A meaningful camp/parent partnership benefits your camper. Call or email us anytime! We are here for you!
2. Stay positive about separating from home! Don’t focus on what your camper will be missing (vacation, trips to a favorite ice cream shop), rather discuss what he or she has to look forward to at camp! (The same goes for what you write about in your letters once the time comes!)
3. If your camper asks about homesickness, normalize it! “Of course you’ll miss things about home every now and again, because you have a wonderful home and family! It would be unusual for you not to miss home!” Also, in the same spirit, try to minimize your own feelings of child-sickness! “Of course we’ll miss you, but we’ll be fine! The summer will fly by and we’re so excited for you. You’re going to have an awesome time!”
4. If your camper has specific needs (in the cabin, in the health center, in the dining hall), make sure to call or email us, and make sure to write about it in your confidential forms (or as an addendum to the form) before camp– those confidential forms are our bible!
5. Discuss different activities your camper might enjoy and also talk about trying new ones, keeping an open mind! Camp is a great, safe place to go outside of one’s comfort zone!
6. Take advantage of New Camper Weekend on June 5th and 6th at camp, either for the day or stay overnight! It’s a great opportunity to meet other first-time campers, see camp, get to know staff, and have positive camp experiences together as a family.
7. Keep all “camp talk” light! In letters, in person, keep it upbeat!
8. Now is when your camper may start asking you about what he or she will bring. Make sure to send your camper’s stuffed animal, a favorite book or two, and any other item that makes them feel at home; if there’s something your camper sleeps with every night, please make sure to send it! Believe us when we say that most campers bring a security object of some sort. You’re never too old!
9. If panic sets in, call us. We’ll talk you through it, but when speaking to your camper NEVER promise to PICK UP YOUR CHILD. He or she might ask in the time between now and camp! It’s normal to get cold feet in the spring! Remind your camper that you’ve made a commitment as a family, that camp is only for a short amount of time, and that you know he or she is in the right place, that they can do it! They are in a safe place. CAMP IS WHERE CHILDREN LEARN INDEPENDENCE! By giving your camper the gift of camp, you’re giving them independence, resilience, and the ability to adapt to and thrive in new environments! If your children know that they’re definitely going to camp and definitely staying at camp for the summer, they’ll allow themselves to relax and let go. Squash the “what if!”