Tips for Parents Considering Camp for Their Kids
September 21, 2021, by MCE Blog Team
Tips for Parents Considering Camp for Their Kids
September 21, 2021, by MCE Blog Team

Fall officially starts this week, which brings us one season closer to our next Maine camp summer! Many prospective camp families are currently researching and enrolling their kids. With that in mind, our Campcierge™ Laurie has been giving advice to parents about how they know if their kids are ready, how to choose the right camp, and what if kids get homesick, so we thought we’d share the answers in this week’s Maine Camp Experience blog.

Is my child ready?

  • Your child is ready if h/she is active throughout the day. If they’re looking for their next activity after school or day camp, it’s  a good sign they may be ready for overnight cap.
  • Ideally your child has slept out at relatives and/or friends’ houses and feels comfortable.
  • The first year at most camps is for kids going into third grade. Many kids go that year. Of course, there are some who start earlier or later.
  • Does your child want to go? Many kids get excited when they view camp videos and websites, see movies about overnight camp, or hear about it from friends. Even these eager-to-go first-timers may feel a little nervous, which is perfectly normal. A child firmly saying s/he doesn’t want to go may not be ready.
  • Have your camper write down questions that you can together ask the camp directors. Knowledge is power and when kids feel like they know what it will be like, they feel empowered, curious, and excited to go. Questions have come up like: how many people sleep in a cabin together? How will I get to camp? What do I do if I wake up early?
  • Note: remember that the camp summer is still 10 months from now, so your child has almost a whole year’s growth from now.

How do I pick the right camp?

  • Ideally, narrow down your top choices to between 2-4 camps and speak with directors by phone, Facetime with directors and your kids, and speak with reference families.
  • Narrow down your choices by asking yourself questions including:
    • Camp size
    • Desired length of session in first year and ensuing years
    • Type of programming – structured, elective, combination
    • Type of activities
    • Camp director philosophy – here are 21 questions you can ask a camp director
  • Use resources for help. For example, our Campcierge™ has worked with prospective camp families for almost a decade and she offers free, expert guidance to help families find their ideal camp match (email: laurie@mainecampexperience.com)
  • Note: our Campcierge™ recommends not automatically choosing a camp because a school friend or neighbor goes there. Do the research to make sure it’s the right place for your child.

What happens if my kids get homesick?

  • Some homesickness is normal, and in most cases it is replaced by fun activities, new friendships, and great camp events, traditions, and trips.
  • Directors and staff are used to helping campers get situated and engaged. Making connections to other campers and to activities they’ll love is integral to success and happiness at camp, which is why it’s important to choose the right camp.
  • The best form of communication with campers is usually letters and/or email – enough for parents to let their kids know that they’re thinking of them, but that they’re not missing much at home. Most camps will also schedule a few phone calls for parents and campers throughout the summer.
  • Week after week; month after month; and summer after summer – campers become more at home in their camp surroundings and with their camp friends.
  • Note: each camp has its own ways of handling homesickness and parent/camper communication, so it’s best to chat with directors so parents and kids have an understanding and expectation of how things will go.

Choosing the right camp and having your child attend is an amazing opportunity for them to have so much fun and experience incredible growth and development. Maine campers unplug from technology, make new friends, enjoy incredible natural beauty, learn new skills, gain confidence and independence, and so much more. Awesome adventures await! Research and enroll today!

Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools

You can share your own Maine camps memories & expressions of gratitude on our Memories of Camp section of our website.

Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child?  Try out our helpful tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (1-8 weeks).  It helps to narrow down a few camps to a manageable list that includes rates.  Then you can research these camps in more depth.  

Next, be sure to contact our Maine Camp Guide, Laurie to discuss these camps as well as for free, year-round advice and assistance on choosing a great Maine summer camp for your child.

 

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“I greatly enjoyed speaking with Laurie (Guide at Maine Camp Experience). Thanks to her guidance, ideas and suggestions we truly feel that our ultimate choice is the right one for us. We can trust that our seven year old daughter will have a wonderful summer!”

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Copyright © 2021 Maine Camp Experience

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