Becoming an active partner in the camp life begins now
BY PAUL HAACK Banner Day Camp, camp director
With winter break behind us, the time is right to begin looking ahead to the sun and fun filled days of summer. Choosing to enroll your child in summer camp for the first time can be a time consuming process for a parent. Once you have discovered the right camp for your child, your work has only just begun. It is important to introduce your child to their camp and to begin the process of acclimatization so that the transition to camp in the summer will be a smooth one. Fortunately, camps provide ample opportunities to ensure that your family can enjoy a smooth passage into the camp season.
Hopefully, by the time you have chosen a camp, you will have already visited its website, met with the staff and toured the facilities. If your child did not partner with you on your search, make plans to change that. Most camps offer photos and videos on their websites. Let your child see the fun that awaits them at camp. Typically camps offer a New Camper Orientation Day; a chance to see the grounds, meet the staff, and begin feeling a part of their summer home. Many camps also offer various off-season events and activities. Try to attend a few of these events with your child so that you may begin the process of enjoying camp together. Most importantly, never pass up an opportunity to call the camp office to ask a question if one arises.
By introducing your child to camp, you should be able to help soften many of the most common transition issues. By their very nature, camps are places of fun, but occasionally issues can emerge that may require a little helping hand. Camps are well equipped to deal with the most common issues that occur when your child enters into a new venture. Things like being homesick, the uncertainty of what to do and where to go, as well as the trepidation that comes with something new are all obstacles that quality camps conquer every day. Camps are staffed with caring, fun-loving counselors and administered by child-focused professionals. Never hesitate to contact your camp if you think your child may be having trouble. In all likelihood, they will already be aware of what is going on and working to improve things. Continual communication between parents and the camp, combined with a camp’s willingness to do whatever possible to make your child’s camp experience the very best possible, is the best medicine to combat any summer camp troubles.
A child’s association with camp can provide a lifetime of skills, memories and friends. The benefits realized from a quality camp can continue to enrich their lives well into adulthood. There’s no reason to wait for the bus to pull up on that first morning to begin your child’s relationship with camp. Take the time to introduce your child to their camp and become an active partner in the camp life.