Going away to Maine overnight camp is an amazing experience. It is common for first-time campers to be both excited and anxious. There are a number of things that parents and camps do to help prepare a child for camp.
Talking with your child about what happens at overnight camp and your child’s expectations ahead of time can lead to a positive transition. By doing this it will also bring out any questions or concerns, allowing you ample time to discuss or resolve them with the camp directors. Reassure your child that apprehensive thoughts are normal.
It is very important to keep any parental anxieties separate to ensure your child remains excited about camp. When discussing what happens at overnight camp, parents often express their feelings about their children leaving them. This sends mixed signals. Children take direction from their parents’ confidence, so you don’t want them to feel that you are anxious. Turn to peers and adult family members for emotional support.
Many MCE camps have a big brother/sister program and reference lists of existing families to contact. Parents and children can reach out to returning camper families to ask for advice or discover stories about what happens at camp. This can have a positive effect on your child’s expectations of camp and get them excited to meet fellow campers and make new friends.
Finally, it is very important to involve your child in the entire camp process. Come to Maine and tour MCE camps; meet with the current campers and staff and learn about each camp’s philosophy and community. They can allay children’s apprehension about meeting new friends. MCE camps work hard to assimilate new campers into their camp communities.