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Last Minute Camp Preparations

By Jess Michaels, American Camp Association, NY and NJ

With camp a month away, this is a good time to start preparing for the exciting experience ahead. The American Camp Association, NY and NJ recommends the following tips for getting ready for a positive summer at camp.

Expectations – Talk to your child about the camp program now until camp begins.  Discuss what a camp day looks like, activities at camp, what the bunk is like and all the friends your child will make.  This will help your child to be prepared for the first day.

Watch camp video– Remember the video you watched when choosing the camp? Now is a great time to watch it again with your child so he or she gets even more excited for camp. The video will be a good reminder of all your child has to look forward to. You can also visit the camp’s website together and look at the activity list to discuss what he or she is most excited about.

Positive Messages – It’s important for parents to share positive messages about camp. It is common for a child to have some apprehension as the first day of camp approaches—encourage your child to talk about these feelings. Let your child know you are confident in your child’s ability to have a wonderful summer camp experience.

Successful overnights for sleepaway - If you are sending your child to sleepaway camp, your child probably has had positive overnight experiences away from home with friends and relatives. If not, make sure you schedule some sleepovers for your child before camp. You want to make sure these overnights are successful and that your child is mature enough to go away for an extended period of time.

Shopping & Packing – If you are planning on buying new items for camp, shop together. This is a good time to talk about camp and all the things your child will need. Also make sure to involve your child in packing. Your child will feel more secure if they know what they are bringing to camp. Be sure to take a look at the packing list and respect the items the camp asks you to leave at home including technology items.

New camper get-together – If your camp hosts a pre-camp event for first time campers, do your best to attend. This is a good way for children to meet other children going to the camp for the first time. It also gives campers a chance to get to know the camp director and for the director to get to know you and your child.

Don’t make pick up deals – While discussing camp, don’t make plans to pick your child up from camp if he or she doesn’t like it. If you do, you’re sending a message to your child that you don’t believe he or she will be successful at camp.

Call the camp director – If you sense your child is nervous about camp, you can call the camp director and ask for their advice. The camp director has a lot of experience with first time campers and will be able to offer you some ways which you can help your child get over any worries about the first day of camp.


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