Making Memories and Building Character
by Bailey LeRoux
The thing about summer camps, sleep-away or otherwise, is that they involve a certain amount of preparation.
Picking. Choose a summer camp that resonates with your child. Our sales rep Maxanne Little’s daughter went to a Type 1 Diabetes camp for three weeks. Maxanne says it helped her “realize that there were other kids just like her and that they led a normal life.” It should pretty much go without saying that if your child loves basketball putting them in a dance camp will not likely yield the best results. For a list of day camps in Abilene see here.
Packing. For some this is the hardest part of the camping routine. During this grueling process it’s important to label everything with your child’s name. Mix-ups will happen anyway but this way they will be less often. Staying organized as you pack and sending a ‘return trip packing list’ with your child can increase your chances of having all items returning home safely. If you want to make getting dressed every day super simple (or maybe you want to be sure their clothes match), use a gallon-size plastic bag for each day of camp and include all the day’s necessities — shorts, t-shirt, socks and undies — in each bag. The bags will come in handy for stashing wet, messy, dirty clothes on the return trip too.
Preparing. Whether your child loves camps and has no problem leaving home and making friends, or they are terrified of the new experience, the social skills that summer camps can build are worth every trouble. Letting your children know that their camp experience is going to be what they make it can be a first step to nudging any shy or nervous child and inch or two towards the door. If they want to have fun, they are in charge of how much fun they have; if they want to make friends, it’s up to them to do it. Putting them in charge of the experience will give them back a portion of the control they feel they are losing by trying something new. That can take some (but probably not all) of the fear away.
Summer camps are a chance for children to get outside of their comfort zones and away from parents. The experience will be a huge help in developing ambition and independence. An opportunity for your social butterflies to stretch their wings and thrive is a beautiful thing.
Do you have any helpful or funny camp stories you’d like to share?