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Tips for Parents of First Time Campers

Tips for Parents of First Time Campers

Monday, 05 June 2023 06:23

Are you thinking of sending your child to camp for the first time? Trying to decide which one is best, when to register, and how to get ready can be difficult and overwhelming. So much information, so much planning; where do you start, and will you miss anything? 

It's understandable why many campers and their parents suffer some apprehension before their first camp experience. It doesn't matter if your child spends a few days or two weeks at camp; it's a new environment with a new routine and new people. Spending some time as a family getting ready for this first camp experience can usually soothe most nerves. 

It is also helpful to think about all the things that are going to make this experience an exciting time for your child! Think about these things to help ease your mind and build excitement for this new adventure for your child. Here are a few:

  • Meeting new friends
  • Experience outdoor adventures
  • Grow in Independence and personal growth
  • Chance to unplug and connect with nature
  • All the fun-filled activities
  • Take part in the camp traditions
  • Build relationships with mentors
  • Enjoy s’mores and campfires
  • Grow in resilience and adaptability
  • Make memories that will last a lifetime

Just think of the growth! Just think of all the new experiences your child will get to experience by attending overnight camp. Now, read through this blog to better prepare yourself and your child to have the most amazing time at camp!

Getting Your Camper Ready for His or Her First Experience at Overnight Camp

As a parent, sending your child off to camp for the first time can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Here are some tips to help you and your child have a positive experience:

1. Choose the Right Camp

Research and select a camp that aligns with your child's interests, needs, and family values. Consider factors like camp philosophy, activities offered, safety measures, staff qualifications, and communication policies.

2. Involve Your Child In The Decision-Making Process

Discuss camp options with your child and involve them in the decision-making process. This will help them feel more invested in the experience and give them a sense of ownership.

3. Start Preparing Early

Begin preparations well in advance of the camp start date. Read through the camp materials together, review packing lists, and ensure your child has any necessary equipment or supplies. This will help reduce any last-minute stress.

4. Communicate with the Camp Staff

Reach out to the camp staff before the session begins to introduce yourself, ask questions, and address any concerns. Establishing a line of communication early on can help build trust and reassurance.

5. Manage Your Own Anxiety

It's normal to feel anxious about your child's first camp experience, but try not to let your own anxiety transfer to your child. Stay positive and express confidence in their ability to have a great time. Remind yourself that camp is a safe and enriching environment.

6. Prepare for Homesickness

Homesickness is common for first-time campers. Talk to your child about their feelings and reassure them that it's normal to miss home. Encourage them to reach out to counselors or staff if they need support. Remind them of the exciting experiences and new friends they'll make.

7. Pack Thoughtfully

Follow the camp's packing list and guidelines. Pack essential items while considering the weather, activities, and any specific requirements. Label your child's belongings to prevent loss. Avoid sending expensive or sentimental items that could be lost or damaged.

8. Discuss Camp Expectations

Talk to your child about what to expect at camp, including rules, routines, and activities. Encourage them to follow camp guidelines, respect their counselors, and engage in the camp community. Setting clear expectations can help them feel more prepared.

9. Encourage Independence

Camp is an excellent opportunity for children to develop independence and self-reliance. Encourage your child to make decisions, solve problems, and manage their own belongings. This will foster their personal growth and build their confidence.

10. Stay Connected - But Not Too Much

Find out the camp's communication policy and discuss it with your child. Some camps may have specific guidelines for phone calls or emails. Respect the camp's rules while finding a balance that keeps you connected without interfering with your child's camp experience.

11. Support the Camp Community

Show your support for the camp by participating in parent meetings, volunteering if opportunities arise, and adhering to camp policies. By being an engaged and supportive parent, you contribute to a positive camp environment for everyone.

12. Celebrate Your Child's Experience

When your child returns from camp, give them space to share their experiences and listen attentively. Celebrate their accomplishments, friendships, and personal growth. Acknowledge their bravery in trying something new and encourage future camp experiences.

Tekoa Foothills

Remember, each child's camp experience is unique, and it's normal for both parents and children to feel a mix of emotions. By following these tips and maintaining open communication, you can help ensure a positive and rewarding experience for your first-time camper.

If you still have uncertainties and questions about your child’s first time at overnight camp, we at Tekoa Foothills would love to help put your mind at ease. 

Tekoa Foothills is a United Methodist Summer Camp and Retreat Center located in Casar, North Carolina. The property of 117 acres of land is filled with an abundance of beautiful nature, open fields, and hiking trails, along with a swimming pool, multiple natural bodies of water, and a bamboo forest- all for you to enjoy and explore! 

During the summer months, Tekoa Foothills offers day camp and residential camp to children ages 5 to 17. Campers have the opportunity to engage in exciting programs, develop life-long friendships, and learn new skills, all while gaining the tools to grow spiritually in their relationship with God. 

To get more information about Tekoa Foothills and the different camps we have available for your child, visit our website or reach out to us!