Is Your Child Ready for Summer Camp? How to Decide and Prepare.
Are you considering sending your son or daughter to an overnight camp for the first time? Choosing the right camp, weighing the benefits, and talking your campers through homesickness can feel daunting, but when armed with the right information, a summer spent in the great outdoors just might be the perfect experience. Still not sure how to get started? Read on to find out if your young camper is ready for their first summer camp experience and tips on how to prep!
Is My Child Ready To Be A Camper?
Knowing when your camper is ready for an overnight camp experience is, at its core, something only a parent will know. However, after over 50 years in the business, Camp Olympia has a few pointers on how to know when it’s time.
There is no age that’s right for every child. For some, they might be ready particularly early, while for others it could be later. We have found that 6 is a great time to start the conversation, if your camper doesn’t start it first! Commonly, friends or family will mention a positive camp experience that will spark an interest in an overnight camp. Campers listen to other campers, after all!
Some things to consider when determining if your camper is ready: 1. Do they feel comfortable when away from home and/or parents for the night?
- Are sleepovers exciting and stress-free for them?
- Have weekend or week-long stays with extended family been enjoyable? If the answer to these questions is yes, then your camper is more likely to adapt easily to being away from home for the duration of camp—and enjoy it!
How Do I Choose the Right Camp?
Finding the right camp for your child can be an exciting process – but also a little stressful. Before you send your camper off for an adventurous summer session, it’s a good idea to ask some important questions.
- Is the camp accredited?
- What are the values held by the camp?
- What is the staff to camper ratio and its staff policies?
- Does the camp offer activities that your child already loves or is interested in exploring?
Taking the time to ask all of these questions beforehand is going to ensure that you send your child off with confidence that they’ll have a fun and meaningful experience. But of course campers and parents love camp for different reasons — campers may love a variety of activities and friends while parents are looking for safety, accreditation, and communication. It’s important to find a camp that can do both! Camp Olympia has a great place to start with the top reasons campers love camp and the top reasons parents love camp.
Why is Summer Camp Important?
As parents make a decision on whether to send their kids to camp, they should consider the enormous benefits that camp offers like connecting with other kids and exploring nature. Camp is an ideal opportunity for your kids to make lifelong friendships and build character through shared experiences in the great outdoors.
On top of having a summer packed with adventure, camp can be a truly life-changing experience. Summer camp helps young people develop newfound independence and self-confidence, tap into their creativity and explore new avenues of expression. Not only can this result in newfound passions, skills, and talents within children, but it can also set them up for success by igniting an enthusiasm that will carry on far beyond their time at camp.
What If My Camper Gets Homesick?
Nervousness is very common for children (and parents too!) when going to camp for the first time. Worries and homesickness may seem like too much to overcome, but with some upfront preparation, it is absolutely possible to ease your child’s mind before they set off on their summer adventure.
Talk through potential worries and concerns with them. Encourage them to voice any hesitation they have around the idea of leaving home and cast aside worries together. Explain that homesickness is a very normal part of growing in independence, and that the camp staff will be there to help them. Ultimately, this preparation will help build their self-confidence in knowing this experience is something they can manage, grow from, and enjoy!
Additionally, you can prepare by making sure you choose a camp with a procedure and plan for homesickness. Camp Olympia recommends that you ask staff what the procedure is for communication between parents and campers while at camp. Also, determine how staff are prepared to handle homesick campers. With over 50 years of experience, Camp Olympia has a well trained staff to make sure that campers feel comforted when they need it but also encouraged to join in on the fun-filled activities and connect with friends around them.
How Do I Get Started?
Camp Olympia offers several sessions throughout the summer for boys and girls ages 6-16. With one, two, and three-week sessions and over 45 activity options, there’s something for every camper whether you’re a seasoned camp pro or a first timer! First time campers and their families may want to look into SPARK week — a program developed by Camp Olympia for first time campers ages 6-9. This one-week session is geared towards allowing campers to dip their toes in the water and have a short, but action-packed week at camp.
Learn more at CampOlympia.com or view dates and pricing to find your ideal session!