The countdown to summer sleepaway camp is well underway as we just passed the 150 “days till camp” marker. While some campers are enjoying the count down, others are feeling a big nervous and maybe even somewhat anxious about overnight camp. This is perfectly normal!
What can you do to encourage your campers to be ready for camp? Here’s some tips from the experts:
Brooke Cheley-Klebe from Cheley Camps suggests “Get your camper involved in picking out gear for camp. If you buy hiking boots, go on a hike with them!”
Camp Owner and TED talk extraordinaire, Steve Baskin suggests reframe what three weeks away is about “wise parents provide their children with a different frame to look at camp. It is not “3 weeks away from mom and dad”, but is instead “a grand adventure full of fun and friends”.
Jen Bush writes for American Camp Association: “Learn details of the facilities. Will your child have to walk to the bathroom at night? Some kids, especially those from urban areas, are unaccustomed to total darkness, so it’s a good idea to practice using a flashlight. Will she be exposed to a lot of bugs and wildlife? Consider taking a family camping trip in advance to familiarize your child with the outdoor environment, nighttime sounds, and roughing it a bit.”
A great idea we heard from a parent is have your teenager take a mini-vacation from their phone or screen. Make it a positive experience where you go do something together or something she enjoys and explain that it’s about being present together. Not tying it “going away to camp” will be in their favor.
• Look over the packing list together on http://runoia.com/camp-store/, start browsing your closets and stores and gathering items together for camp.
• Practice sorting their dirty laundry from clean clothes, carrying their toiletries to the shower, brushing and braiding their hair, making their bed. Make a list of things they will be expected to do at camp on their own or with the support of a counselor or a friend and start practicing!
• Discuss what they will enjoy doing at camp, look over the camp activities, help explain how they can sign up for activities at the camp and who to turn to if they would like to change their schedule.
• Let them know how Runoia directors and adults are around all the time to help them at camp. Have them write an email to us about any concerns so we can address them. Reducing uncertainty and knowing adults will be there to help them really helps.
Let your camper know it is absolutely normal to be nervous about camp and let her know that everyone is nervous – even the campers returning to Runoia. Remind her we are great at helping campers adjust and get oriented at Camp Runoia and we want her to have the best time of her life!