Summer camp has become much more than just pitching a tent and telling ghost stories. These days there’s a camp for every kid and every interest.
But no matter where your child wants to go over the summer months, there are things any parent considering camp can do to prepare.
As Executive Director of YMCA Camp Carson for the last 19 years, Mark Scoular has become a local expert on not only camping, but getting kids ready for it.
“Enjoy the outdoors, eyes up, connecting with your friends and trying those new opportunities and challenges, he advises. “Whether that’s a traditional day camp, or whether that’s a traditional sleep away camp, definitely find out what works for your family, for your child, where your interests lie. If you do go to the sleep away camps, make sure they’re ready for that.”
The first step in getting ready is making sure that the camp is reputable. Local child advocacy group Holly’s House says that accrediting and background checks will help ensure the proper environment for children, and Mark agrees.
“The American Camp Association is a great resource to ask those additional questions.”
Following up on medical and communication plans will make the most of the time away, and make sure issues are addressed beforehand. But once the groundwork is laid and the bags are packed, mentally and emotionally getting kids ready will ensure everyone has a good experience.
“Dive in headfirst and take advantage of every opportunity that’s offered at camp, because at any given time there’s four or five things going on. Pick something you like and just dive on into it,” suggests Lee Turpin, an Evansville parent who has sent his kids to camp every year.
Meeting the individual needs of your child, and saying things like “I’m excited for you,” instead of “I miss you,” will help make sure they go in with a great attitude.
If you’re interested in finding out which camps are in your area and which ones are accredited, you can find out more at www.acacamps.org