We believe that summer camps are a healthy way for children to take part in activities and meet friends from all sorts of different cultures around the world. XUK is proud to promote summer activity camps and suggest it is a great experience for every child to do at least once!
The following article by Sarah Holder at Camp Motorsport is a great and interesting read.
For many children, attending some type of camp every summer is as natural as going to the pool or eating an ice cream on a hot day. Camp offers kids a lot of opportunities for growth. Socially, they learn how to work as part of a group, communal living skills (at resident/overnight camps), how to make new friends, conflict resolution, and many other invaluable skills.
Personally, there’s a unique element of “structured independence”, where they can feel free to make certain decisions and choices, in a safe and supportive environment, allowing for personal growth. The benefits of camp are many, and we hope that you are considering sending your child to summer camp this year if you haven’t already.
For the first-timers, parents of those children and teens who are going to have their first away from home experience this summer (or even the first time at a new camp), there are some things that you can do prior to packing up the car and heading to camp that will help guarantee a smooth, rewarding experience for both you and your camper.
First, from the very beginning, involve your children and teens as much as possible in the process. They should be an integral part of the decision to go to camp in the first place. Every child develops at a different rate– some will be ready to head off to camp almost as soon as they’ve mastered the art of walking, and others will be reluctant to leave home until their teenage years. Forcing a child to attend a sleep-away camp who is just not ready yet might lead to an unpleasant first experience that they will be reluctant to repeat. If your child is anxious about being away from you, perhaps start small, with overnight stays with friends, day camps with a one-night stay-over, or half-week overnight camps with a buddy or two.
It’s very important to not let any anxiety you may have pass to your camper prior to attending camp. Remind yourself that you have chosen a quality camp with a good reputation, caring and supportive staff, and that camp is an invaluable learning experience that your child deserves to take part in. Avoid saying things before camp such as “if you aren’t having a good time, we will come and get you,” as this will allow your child to feel as though they don’t have to actually try to adjust to the camp experience. Also, saying things that indicate that parents, siblings, or pets will have a hard time adjusting to your camper being away from home may lead to your child feeling guilty for being away, which certainly won’t allow them to become fully involved while at camp.
While the first significant amount of time away from home and away from loved ones can sometimes be challenging for children, it is an important step in their growth and development, and can and should be very positive.
If you prepare both yourself and your camper for their first camp experience, you are both much more likely to have a smooth adjustment, and your camper is likely to have a wonderful and unforgettable time away from home…one that they will hopefully want to repeat again every summer!
Please note the pictureson this article are not from XUK. This article was originally posted on http://campfriendship.wordpress.com/2009/03/16/preparing-for-camp-part-1/