How to set your child up for success at summer camp

By Kristopher Kihlstadius

For most first timers, sending your child to summer camp can be a little frightening. Every parent will be looking into how they can make sure their children have the best possible experience at camp. Even if you’ve sent your child to summer camp before, you could still read something in this article that you haven’t done before. This article is meant to help inform parents about different ways they can set their child up for success at summer camp.

Follow the packing list

The first and most effective method of making sure your camper enjoys his time at camp is packing accordingly to the camp. One of the worst things that can happen to a camper is not having the right supplies for the week. Most camps have a packing list that you can follow to ensure your child has everything they need. Something that is unable to be overestimated is the amount of socks your camper will need. Dry warm socks are worth their weight in gold. Some other important items that I too often see lacking in campers: plenty of bug spray, a flashlight, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, a good towel (or two so they can rotate them!), and a simple rain jacket or poncho.

Attend with a friend

Another way you can plan for success is to have them attend with a friend or two. Having a friend at camp, your camper will feel more secure especially if it’s their first time at camp. They will be able to talk to them and always have a partner for any activities. Now of course over the course of their time at camp
your camper will make friends.

Send letters to them

Something that I was always encouraged by was letters from my mom. My mom would write emails to the camp to be delivered to me in the form of a letter. It was always nice to hear what was going on at home and to get some warm encouragement from mom. So something you can do as a parent is send messages to them during camp. Every camp has different ways you can do this. You will have to find
out the best way to send messages to your camper for your respective camp.

Encourage them about trying new things

This one is very simple but could change your child’s week at camp. Some campers are very hesitant to try things if they haven’t done it before. There will be many new experiences for your child if it’s their first time at camp. A good pep talk can go a long way for your camper. Perhaps on your way to the camp you can talk to them. Encourage them about trying new things and make it a goal to have fun. Camp is a unique place where kids can be kids and have fun.

Provide medical information

Parents, you should provide as much medical information as you feel comfortable giving to the counselors. Medical information can include: Allergies, disabilities, any issues with being away from home, bed wetting problems, anger issues, or any information you think would be helpful. This will help the counselors serve your camper to the best of their abilities. The counselors will be able to be more prepared for any incidents that may occur. You should absolutely inform the camp of any allergies your child has. This way the cooks can find alternative food for them to eat if the meal they made has any allergens in it.

Encourage journaling

This one may not be for all kids but even so I highly recommend it. Your camper will make many great memories at camp. It can be easy to forget a lot of the details about their time at camp. You should encourage them to write a little about each day in a notebook. By the end they will have a great collection of memories from camp. One day they will be glad they wrote about their experiences and the friends they made.

Now that you know these tips I hope you can incorporate them in your own way into your child’s camp experience. Make sure you’re preparing by following a packing list, bringing a friend or two with them, finding the correct process to send messages to them, filling out optional paperwork, and encouraging them and talking to them about their upcoming time away.