Overnight summer camp can be both exciting - and scary! - for kids, so we came up with 9 ways to help your camper get the most out of their camp experience.
Experiencing new activities with new people while in an unfamiliar setting can be both thrilling and a little scary, especially for kids who have never gone to an overnight camp before. Properly preparing both yourself and your kids for the upcoming joys and challenges of summer camp will ensure that you both get the most out of this amazing opportunity for growth.
Before They Go:
- Involve Your Child: When a kid has agency in choosing their own activities, they feel a greater ownership over their time at camp. Make sure that they feel like this is their experience, and they will be sure to invest themselves more fully. Let them help choose the type of camp experience that best suits them. Outdoor adventures as well as fun, social games are all part of the Colorado Mountain Camp experience.
- The Essentials: Sunscreen, bug repellant, flashlights, headlamps – preparedness goes a long way in ensuring that your kid has an amazing time at camp! Don’t let them get demoralized by skipping a necessary item.
- The Non-Essentials: Whether it’s a stuffed animal, a ‘lucky’ t-shirt, or a trinket from the best family vacation ever, tell your kid that they can take a favorite (portable) item to share the adventure with them.
- Talk About Homesickness: It happens to everyone! Kids and adults alike. Let your camper know that they might miss home from time to time, and that it’s okay. But also make sure they have a plan for sticking it out through the tough times.
While They’re There:
- Make Friends: Overnight camp is always more fun and meaningful when shared! Encourage your kid to introduce themselves to their peers and engage other campers who might be on the shy side themselves. This can be so hard and yet so crucial since friendships made at camp are such an important aspect of having fun at camp. Talk about how to make friends - by asking questions, offering to help, be nice - and good times to socialize - at the dining hall or during bunk time. It's one of the more impactful aspects of camp so make sure to spend lots of time discussing with your kiddo any fears, hesitations and ways to support them.
- Check Yourself: for a positive attitude! Did that rainstorm get you down? How about those bug bites? Help your kids develop strategies for turning a negative moment into a learning opportunity.
- Active Participation: Ask your camper: what does it mean to actively participate? Maybe it’s noticing the way that rocks seem layered in some formations, or perhaps it’s keeping an eye out for animal tracks. Encourage them to take mental notes or keep a journal during their experience.
Once They’re Back:
- Roses & Thorns, Apples & Onions: Ask your kid questions to help them pull meaning from their time away. What was your favorite part? What was most challenging for you? What do you know now that you didn’t before you went to camp?
- Reflection: Once they’re back at home, debrief on their experiences. Did they develop any new passions? What did they learn about themselves? End their camp experience with honest and open reflection.
Following these steps will guarantee that your kid gets the very most from camping with Avid4Adventure. Don’t be surprised if they come home already wanting to sign up for next year!
Learn more about our overnight camps and how to pick the right summer camp for your child.