If you’ve gone to summer camp then you probably have fond memories of sleeping in a cabin, making new friends and swimming. But how do you know if your child is ready for an overnight camp experience? The Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama (GSNCA) has several camps accredited by the American Camp Association and suggests the following tips to help you decide.
How old is your child? Children seven and under may be better suited for a day camp rather than spending the night.
Has your child had positive overnight experiences away from home? While each overnight experience is different, if your child has responded well to other away from home situations they will probably have a positive experience at camp.
Are you prepared for you child to spend the night elsewhere? If this concept makes you uneasy research the camp. Find one close to your home and take a tour of the grounds seeing exactly what your child will be doing and staying. Be aware your child can sense your emotions and might begin to develop some of your concerns.
Does your child talk about camp on a regular basis? If your child is excited about camp they are more likely to embrace the experience and get more out of their time at camp.
How much persuasion is necessary from you? If your child is not warming up to the idea of an overnight camp, a day camp is a good middle ground. They offer many of the same experiences while not being as much of a commitment.
Does your child independently perform daily tasks such as brushing his/her teeth or tying his/her shoes? If your child is responsible at home they probably will continue to be away at camp.
Does your child look forward to creating his/her own camp memories? If your child is excited about camp they are more likely to have a good experience. Tell your child about your camp memories or memories they will make while at camp such as the new friends and various activities.
Even returning campers can experience homesickness. GSNCA suggests talking with your camper about any changes at home before attending camp. Parents can also remind returning campers that sometimes camp is different than it was last summer. Perhaps a favorite counselor is not returning or your child’s best friend can’t attend camp this year. Though this experience isn’t the same, camp will still be fun.
Both boys and girls are invited to enjoy the fun-filled outdoor adventures at all six of GSNCA’s camps. Our camp programs allow boys and girls to discover their personal best and prepare for a positive future, connect with others in an increasingly diverse world, and take action to solve problems and improve their communities. For more information visit our website at www.girlscoutsnca.org.