Summer means a break from homework and early mornings, and what kid isn’t excited for that? Weeks of late nights, lazy days, sleepovers, videogames, and all manner of non-school related shenanigans. Then, your parents decide summer camp might be a fun way to spend part of the vacation. If you’ve never been, it may seem a bit scary at first. If you have been, maybe that last spot you went wasn’t super fun. Maybe you have had an overnight stay at a friend’s house, but never been away from your parents a week (or longer).
Yet, there are so many different types of summer camps now available that it could be fun. In fact, there are ways that you can not only survive the experience, but do the following and you also may have a great time:
1. Get Involved in Picking the Summer Camp
While your parents have the final say on where you go, they naturally want to go with something that you will enjoy and focused on your interests. Of course, you may not be sure yet what types of things you are really interested in. That’s when your parents can show you some different ideas or you can talk to them about something you wanted to learn more about. That could be robotics or coding or it could be cooking, dancing, or acting. Maybe you like the idea of staying in a cabin and doing outdoor activities. By getting involved in where your parents send you, it will become more about what you like to do.
2. Ask Lots of Questions and Voice Concerns
A rule of thumb: if you don’t ask questions, you won’t get answers. Your parents don’t know what is on your mind or how to reassure you if you don’t ask questions and share what worries you about going to summer camp. It’s better to share what you are thinking because Mom and Dad can make you feel confident and excited about what summer camp will bring. They can show you what it looks like on a website or YouTube video. There may even be an opportunity to go to an open house at the summer camp to see what it’s all about.
3. Give Your Summer Camp Information to Friends
While there is a great opportunity to make new friends while at summer camp, it will feel good to hear from friends and family. Give out the address where you are staying so those who know you can send you letters or postcards. Remember to bring some supplies like envelopes, paper, and stamps with you so you can write back to them.
4. Bring Some Cool Stuff to Bring But Leave Special Things at Home
It’s a great idea to bring a few extra things for any free time you get. For example, you can bring a journal to record your experience or some color pencils and paper, a Mad Lib book, or cards. Another good thing to bring is a disposable camera. You may not be able to have your phone at the camp ground and an expensive camera could get damaged or lost. However, you may want to leave that special stuffed animal, blanket, or other treasured possession at home. The last thing you want is to lose those items.
5. Help Shop and Pack with Your Parents
Your parents will love that you want to participate and this will help you get more used to the idea of going to summer camp. You can check off the items on the supplies list from the camp. This is a good lesson on how to pack for a trip, including how to organize your stuff and remember everything you might need. Since your parents have done this before, it’s good if they can teach you how to prepare for summer camp. Plus, it’s kind of cool to get some new things in the process.
6. Practice Using Equipment or Tools
Depending on the type of summer camp you are attending, you may have certain tools like a flashlight and Swiss Army knife and tool kit to take with you. Be sure you practice working with everything before you go. You’ll feel more confident while at the summer camp and will be careful with how you use these items. Don’t be afraid to ask your parents to show you many times before you go. They also want to make sure you know what you are doing.
7. Listen to Parents
Since your parents are a lot older, they have had many more years of life experience where they’ve tried things out, made mistakes, and learned along the way. Be open to any advice they give on how to organize your things, how to be respectful to camp staff and your fellow campers, and how to stay safe in various situations. They want to protect you, but they also know they need to allow you to have these experiences that will help you later in life.
8. Review the Camp’s Website Before Leaving
It’s always a good thing to look again at the camp’s website or social media sites to make sure you have everything. You never know if you might have forgotten something. Hopefully, your parents encouraged you to start packing early so there is no last-minute rush where things are forgotten and there is no time to double-check the camp’s website. Additionally, seeing pictures and videos online will also help you have a good visual of the fun that’s waiting for you.
9. Make the Most of the Time There
Remember that your friends and family will be waiting and always there for you. There may not be another chance to attend this summer camp or learn the skill it’s offering. That means focus on the summer camp and make an effort to get to know the other campers. Your future best friend could be there. Sign up for as many of the camp’s activities as possible that you think you would enjoy and be sure to try something new. There may be opportunities to volunteer and help other campers. However, don’t wear yourself out either!
10. Stay in Touch
Thanks to technology, it’s easier to stay in touch with the other campers and counselors you met while there. This will also help you make the most of the time there and expand your circle of friends. Add them on your social media and contacts list with your parent’s permission, of course. Even better is if you discover that your new friends live nearby. That way, you can plan to get together again some time over the rest of summer and in the near future.