When you decide to send your child to summer camp, you’re already expecting them to learn a lot of different things. From improving their canoeing and swimming skills to learning how to make new friends and express themselves, campers get a lot out of their summer experiences. For first time campers, though, the transition from home to camp can be more challenging than they might expect. Even if they’ll just be gone for a week of resident camp, a little preparation ahead of time can make a big difference!
Making their bed: Campers will be expected to keep their bunk neat and clean, and making their bed is a big part of that. If your child doesn’t routinely make their bed at home, try getting them used to making it each morning so they’re comfortable making their bed at camp. It’s the little things that can make a big difference.
Enjoying the outdoors: For campers who live in cities or suburbs, spending a lot of time outside – especially in the hot summer – can be a huge adjustment. We work hard to keep our campers cool and hydrated, but some campers just aren’t used to being outside all the time. Spending time with them in parks or on short hikes before they come to camp is a great way to help smooth the transition.
Dealing with bugs: Being outside means bugs – and lots of them! Many kids are easily scared of bugs, but we want our campers to learn about nature. We want our campers to know which bugs are safe, which ones to avoid, and how to safely move them back outside if they end up in their bunk. These skills can make that first spider sighting a lot easier for a camper!
Dealing with homesickness: Our counselors and staff are trained to deal with homesickness, but it’s something to talk to your campers about before dropping them off. Having a plan will help them feel prepared when they start missing home, and having a familiar object – like a stuffed animal – can be a great way for campers to feel safe.
Getting in a routine: Campers do a lot of different activities, and most of their days are structured and planned. If this is something your child isn’t used to, letting them know ahead of time that they’ll be busy can help them adjust. Go over schedules with them so they understand what they’ll be doing, and practice getting them in a routine for meals and bedtime before they come to camp.
Unplugging: At Camp Fletcher, we are completely unplugged. We know campers are going to have a blast without screens, but no access to technology can be an adjustment for some. Consider preparing your camper by limiting screen time to help them adjust better without access to cell phones, video games and other electronics.
Spotting poison ivy and poison oak: This is definitely something our counselors will remind campers about over and over again, but your child can never hear it too many times – leaves of three, let it be; leaves of five, let it thrive.
Eating right: If your camper isn’t used to making meal decisions by themselves, meals at camp can be challenging. Campers need to eat right so they have the energy they need throughout the day, and picky eaters might be less likely to eat enough at meals. If you have questions about the meals we serve at camp, let us know beforehand so you can talk with your camper about their options and making healthy choices.
Asking for help: While our counselors and staff are very attentive, your camper needs to know how to ask for help – not just at camp. Teach them how to locate a trustworthy adult and seek assistance if they need something. There are no dumb questions and there’s nothing wrong with asking for help!
We want all of our campers to make memories they will never forget! Learning independence can be a challenge, but taking the time to prepare your camper for their time away can make the transition much smoother. Our staff and counselors are trained to insure a safe and fun environment, and we know your camper will have the time of their life when they’re prepared and excited for a resident session at Camp Fletcher!