Tips for Preparing For Camp
Sleep-away camp can be a great experience for kids of all ages. It's a chance to make new friends, try new activities, and have some fun in the sun. But it can also be a big adjustment for kids who have never been away from home before.
Here are a few things you can do to help them adjust to camp life.
Have them try it out -
Your kids are going to be away from you—possibly for the first time—and maybe for an extended period of time. Some kids have absolutely no problem adjusting; others need to dip their feet in the water slowly. Organize a couple of sleepovers with their friends—and do it at their friends’ houses to get them used to being away from you.
Visit the camp or go over pictures and videos
If possible, try to visit the camp before your child goes. This will give them a chance to see where they'll be staying, meet some of the counselors, and get a feel for the camp environment.
You can schedule a visit by emailing email@example.com.
You can see photos of camp in action here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chestnutridge/albums, videos here: https://www.youtube.com/user/ChestnutRidgeCamp
And photos of our lodging facilities here: https://www.campchestnutridge.org/lodging
Pack the right things-
Make sure your child packs everything they'll need for camp - you can see a full list here - https://www.campchestnutridge.org/pack. Gathering items and labeling them with your child’s name, especially for the first timer, can be a lot of work. Doing this together sets the stage for the camp experience where your child will be responsible for her belongings. Kids should know what they are bringing with them, and parents/guardians can keep an eye on making sure that unnecessary or banned items don’t end up in your child’s luggage.
Spend time away from devices-
Devices, such as cell phones, laptops, and tablets are not allowed at camp. For some campers, it is an easy transition to leave devices behind. Other struggle as device use is now such a large part of day to day life. Practicing time without devices at home will prepare them to make a similar transition at camp.
There are many benefits to leaving devices behind at sleepaway camp. For one, it can help children to focus on the present moment and make new friends. When they are not constantly checking their devices, they are free to participate in activities, explore the camp grounds, and get to know the other campers. Additionally, unplugging can help children to relax and enjoy the outdoors. When they are not constantly bombarded with notifications and distractions, they can appreciate the peace and beauty of nature.
Of course, there are some potential downsides to leaving devices behind. For example, children may feel homesick or anxious if they are not able to stay in touch with their parents or friends. However, these feelings are usually temporary and can be overcome with the support of the camp counselors. Receiving a letter from home and sending one back can help as well.
It's normal for kids to feel homesick at first. Let your child know that it's okay to miss you and that you'll be excited to see them at pickup on Friday. Encourage them to talk to their counselors if they're feeling homesick or having a hard time adjusting. - Don't make 'pick up deals' - Don't tell your camper 'If you get homesick, just call me and I'll pick you up'. Instead say something like, 'You know sometimes while you are at camp you might miss home a little, and that's ok! That is normal. I've missed home before too. But at the end of the week you will come home and be able to share with me all of the fun stories about your adventures at camp. If you get homesick, you can work through those difficult but normal feelings of missing home and come home more confident and independent.
Shape Positive and Realistic Expectations -
Share stories about how much fun you had, how you grew or how you tried new things if you grew up camp. Also help them talk through the parts of camp that they are looking forward to the most. These will help your child envision a positive experience for themselves. Be honest too. Camp is a lot of fun, but it can also be challenging. Help your child understand that it's okay to have ups and downs but that on the whole, the camp experience will be a great one.
We have long days at camp, and the bedtime and wake-up times may not align exactly with your routies at hime. Discussing this change, and even practicing different sleep schedules at home can help your campers transition better. Check out a schedule for the day here: https://www.campchestnutridge.org/schedule
Campers are also not allowed electronics or screens, so if TV or phones are a part of their routine then they will need some practice without them.
Responsibility & Making Decisions &
Campers are in charge of their own belongings and making sure they have what they need each day. Counselors do a lot of reminding but ultimately it is the camper’s responsibility to know where their stuff & take it with them, keep up with hygiene and prepare for the day each day.
Campers must also share their living space with other children and clean up after themselves. If your child tends to be on the messier side some practice in keeping stuff contained would be beneficial. You could even practice putting all of their things in a suitcase for a couple of days and have them try living out of it. Additionally, Your camper will be given opportunities to choose what they want to do, what food to eat, and other various places to make a decision or have an opinion. Not all children are well versed in this as many have adults at home who make most of their choices for them. We suggest allowing campers the opportunity to practice making decisions in the lead-up to camp.
Sleep-away camp is supposed to be fun! Remind your child to relax and enjoy themselves. They'll make new friends, try new things, and have memories that will last a lifetime.
Questions? Email or call us! - Find our contact info at the bottom of the page.