One of my favorite memories as a child was going to overnight camp. Making new friends, being enamored with all the camp counselors and staff–they were all so cool and had great stories.
The same passion for camp led me to return to camp when I was in college: this time as a counselor. That summer remains one of the most idyllic experiences. If you are among the families sending their children to overnight camps for 1 week all the way up to 8 week sessions, you may be experiencing some anxiety and fear for your child regarding his/her time away from home. The feelings might be shared by your child(ren), as well.
For parents, concerns about safety, and overall well-being are the biggest trepidations. For the child, being away from all that is familiar and going out into the unknown with very flimsy verbal affirmation that they will be picked up from camp or will be coming home is the greatest fear. Perhaps knowing that my friends were going to be at camp made my own transition to camp very easy when I was 8 years old. Perhaps I knew innately that I needed to leave the nest to explore and get dirty.
As the day of departure arrives, children who are gung-ho about camp may become anxious, and those who always had reservations may become increasingly more nervous. As a parent you may begin to contemplate calling the camp for a refund, or thinking of ways of sparing your child from the experience of camp.
If you feel that this is likely to happen, this is where you as the parent can be proactive in enlisting some outside help to make for a smooth summer send off. Here are the following ways that I can be of help:
- Work with parents on things they can do to minimize any difficulties
- Meet with child to preview camp, as well as alleviate any fears or concerns
- Meet with parents and child to address any other concerns, and for everyone to be on the same page re: camp
I am an advocate of summer camps and at the most basic level it’s a lot of fun, but on a deeper level camps help foster resiliency in children, and this alone is a good reason for your developing child to attend camp.