As hours of sunlight increase, thoughts may turn to summer vacation. For many children, summer vacation wouldn’t be the same without camp.
Adults may have their own fond memories of going to summer camp when they were children because of the opportunities it presented to be independent and meet new people. Campers often bond over shared experiences, whether they are planned activities or unexpected “disasters” like a rainstorm washing out a canoe trip. That is why so many parents choose to carry on the summer camp tradition when they have their own children.
However, some kids may not be ready to jump right into the summer camp lifestyle. Such youngsters may need extra reassurance and support to make the most of their time at camp.
The following are some tips for making summer camp an enjoyable experience:
- Plan ahead: Families can visit the camp in advance and get a lay of the land. Knowing what to expect in terms of facilities and activities can assuage some anxiety. It also will help campers hone in on what to pack and what to expect over the summer.
- Try many new activities: Summer camp is about expanding boundaries and interests. Campers should sign up for many activities, including those that normally may be out of their wheelhouse. A camper may be pleased to learn that a new craft activity or a sports game piques his or her interest.
- Connect with fellow campers in advance: If the camp has a social media presence, follow the camp’s posts and connect with other like-minded campers even before they arrive. Talking with others who share similar interests can help campers feel more comfortable about meeting up once they arrive at camp.
- Develop a rapport with camp counselors: The saying “you only get one chance to make a first impression” extends to campers meeting camp counselors. When campers interact with counselors for the first time, they should be outgoing, polite and open to new ideas. Counselors will appreciate easy-going campers and could be good resources of useful information, such as how to score an extra dessert at mealtime.
- Follow the safety rules: While campers may spread their wings a bit at summer camp when not under the watchful eyes of parents, any mischief should not come at the expense of safety. Campers should stick to the safety protocol so that camp is not memorable for the wrong reasons.
- Change another camper’s experience: A camper who recognizes a fellow camper is reserved and shy can invite that person to come sit with other friends at meals or to participate in an activity. This can help build a lasting friendship and make camp that much more enjoyable for someone in need.
Summer camp season is on the horizon and campers can take several steps to foster memorable and fun experiences along the way.