Gearing Up For Camp! Preparation
is the Key to a Successful Summer at
Millions of children will get their first taste
of independence at a resident or day camp this summer. More
than 12,000 camps across the country are preparing to give
children the experience of a lifetime and parents should
be doing the same. Preparation is the key to a successful
summer at camp. Not only does a child need to be prepared,
parents also need to prepare themselves.
“Sending your child away to camp is a major
milestone for most parents—one that is often marked
by excitement, anticipation, and perhaps even some anxiety,” states
Bob Ditter, licensed clinical social worker, specializing
in child, adolescent, and family therapy. Parents think that
if their child is far away from home, he or she will be more
anxious. In reality, it is usually the parents who suffer
concern for having their child away from home. Most children
come into the camp setting and immediately begin to develop
a support network—and the distance from home simply
doesn't matter. “One of the most important things parents
can do to help prepare children for camp is to talk with
them before they go,” says Ditter.
makes the following suggestions to help families prepare
for camp: Prepare for camp together: Decisions about camp—like where to go and what to pack—should
be a joint venture, keeping in mind the child's maturity.
If a child feels a part of the decision-making process, his/her
chances of having a positive experience are improved.
Talk about concerns: As the first day of camp
nears, some children experience uneasiness about going away.
Encourage children to talk about these feelings. Communicate
confidence in the child's ability to handle being away from
Have realistic expectations: Camp, like the rest
of life, has high and low points. Not every moment will be
filled with wonder and excitement. Encourage children to
have a reasonable and realistic view of camp. Discuss both
the ups and downs they may experience.
When families make the decision to offer their
children the benefits of a camp experience, they are giving
them the opportunity to grow and develop in a caring, positive
environment that is safe and fun. With careful planning and
preparation, a camp experience can be an experience of a
The American Camping Association helps families
find ACA-accredited camps that can serve almost any interest,
ability, budget, age, and personal schedule through a widely
used Online Camp Database and an annually published Guide
to ACA-Accredited Camps.
Founded in 1910, the American Camping Association
is a national community of camp professionals and is dedicated
to enriching the lives of children and adults through the
camp experience. ACA is the only organization that accredits
all types of camps based upon 300 national standards for
health and safety.#
For more information visit www.ACAcamps.org.