Getting ready for a great summer at camp
Roasting marshmallows under the clear starlit sky while sharing ghost stories or singing in the chow hall while waiting for the weekly camp Olympics to begin are just some of the ways friendships and fond memories are created at summer camp.
If you are sending your child off to camp for the first time, you might have a lot of questions. Here are some helpful ideas and tips when you are getting ready for camp:
Which camp should my child attend? Many of the camp brochures start arriving in the mail early in the year, just after January. There are camps that feature everything from horseback riding or repelling, to soccer and water sports. Some camps have a specific theme while others offer a variety of activities for your child to enjoy. Spend some time discussing the various options with your child to find a camp that's the best fit.
When selecting your camp:
- Make sure the camp is accredited, the counselors are well trained and that there is a medical staff onsite.
- Check with other campers who have gone in the past to find out about their experiences - good or bad
- Be sure to note the dates deposits are due and consider fitting summer camp into your budget. Some camps allow you to start paying early and or on a monthly basis prior to the camp.
- Visit the camp's website often. When deciding where to send your child you'll be looking at the location, prices, dates and condition of the facilities of the camp. After you have settled on a camp, spend time on the different pages of the website to allow both you and your child to become more comfortable with the camp.
Once you've decided which camp your child will attend, start making lists of the things your child will need to take. Some camps offer this list either in the welcome packet or on their website. Don't forget to check the items that are not allowed too.
Be sure to send:
- Plenty of clothes. Impromptu water fights, snagged swimsuits, chillier-than-expected nights, falling out of the canoe, rain… all of these things can and do happen. You will want to make sure your camper has plenty of warm and dry clothing.
- Rain gear. A little rain generally doesn't keep campers indoors for long. Even an inexpensive rain poncho can help your child enjoy the time spent playing in the puddles.
Here are some final things to consider:
- If your child requires medications of any type do not pack them in your child's luggage. These generally need to be placed with the counselor at check in.
- Remind your child to use one towel strictly for bathing and one towel for swimming and water activities. This advice will keep them from drying off with a sandy towel from an afternoon spent at the beach.
- Hope against but prepare your child for the possibility of sunburn, poison ivy and mosquito bites.
- Most camps ask that you send sun screen. For camp opt for a higher SPF than you might normally purchase as your child will probably be exposed to the sun for longer periods of time during activities.
- Send mosquito repellant if allowed. Be sure to select a type for the deep woods.
- Show your child pictures of poison ivy and poison oak plants and talk to them about washing their hands and showering as often as allowed.
Be sure to keep your note upbeat – instead of saying how much you miss your child, say that you can't wait to hear about all the fun they're having at camp.