Considering an overnight camp for your child for summer 2020? I’ve compiled a list of myths and accompanying facts to help guide you.
Myth: “If I send my daughter to camp with a friend, it will make her more comfortable.”
Fact: A friend can sometimes act as a barrier to your child making new friends. All too often, one of the campers has a difficult time. The other child then feels responsible for the friend, which can be extremely burdensome. Also, your child may choose his activities based upon his friends’ interests, rather than his own.
Myth: “A one-week session is the best way to ease into an overnight camp experience.”
Fact: Sometimes, it is the parent who sets a child up for an overnight camping failure by offering, “I will pick you up if you are unhappy,” or “let’s just try this camp for one week to see how it goes.” Kids need a chance to feel homesick and get through it with the help of counselors and individual coping mechanisms to feel successful about a camp experience. One week barely gives a child a chance to find their way around a camp, much less feel the tinge of missing Mom and Dad (or the family dog).
Myth: “Only I know what is best for my child.”
Fact: While the saying “Mother knows best” is true in many circumstances, input from your child may be the best approach when choosing a camp. Ask your child: Do you want to build on your existing strengths and interests this summer or try something new? Be open to the unexpected.
Myth: “A specialty camp – rather than a traditional camp – is the best place for my child.”
Fact: Specialty sports camps focus on teaching technical skills, not necessarily life skills. Parents should not make the mistake of thinking a specialty camp will provide the framework to care for a homesick child or to ease the child into feeling a part of a community.
Myth: “My son plays sports all year long, so I want to give him a break from the routine.”
Fact: While it is a nice break for some kids to fish and hike at camp, others just want to play ball. I advise parents to look for an option that can provide the sports that the child wants, plus some new challenges that the parents might want for their child. A child who can’t make the select baseball or soccer team at home may shine in a camp environment.
When the time comes for choosing a camp, there are a thousand questions to ask. It is essential to ask the right questions and get the facts so that you can get the right fit for your child. The investment will provide you and your child with lifetime rewards. Happy camping!
Helene Abrams, of the free advisory service Tips on Trips and Camps, helps parents find enriching summer overnight experiences for their children. Reach her at 214-484-8141 or Helene@TipsonTripsandCamps.com