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Camp 101

camp

Summer Camp 101

Summer camp is without a doubt something kids look forward to all year. Nevertheless, there are
important issues you should address to ensure that your kids have a really great time at camp.
Based on my experiences as a parent of seasoned summer campers as well as conversations with
other parents, I’ve pulled together a list of some of the most common issues.

Allergies

If your kids suffer from seasonal allergies, like grass or tree pollen, tell the camp physician or
nurse and pack all the medication they need. It can be a real drag for them to walk around the
whole time with a runny nose or watery eyes. If they suffer from more serious allergies, like
animal or food allergies, inform the camp that your kids shouldn’t come into contact with those
allergens. Our son is very allergic to horses. We didn’t think anything of it before we realized
that his camp has alpacas, which can induce the same allergic reaction as horses.

Email, Phone, and Care Packages

Every camp has a policy about how they prefer you to communicate with your kids, whether by
email or phone, and about how many care packages you may send and what you can put in them.
Know those policies, and follow them. Kids don’t want to be called out for not following the
rules. It’s embarrassing, and it can hurt them socially.

Making Friends

Some kids find it easy to make friends, and others have a harder time. If your kids have a
difficult time, ask if they can bunk with one or more of their regular friends from home. Most

camps permit that. Explain to your kids that no matter how confident the other kids may appear,
chances are that they are nervous too. Use yourself as an example and tell them what you did
when you were a kid – it makes the situation much more relatable and manageable.

Homesickness

Your kids can still get homesick even if they’re rooming with close friends. It can happen to any
camper, no matter how well-prepared and seasoned they are. Find out how the camp handles
homesickness. Can you call your kids, even if there’s a no-phone policy? Is it possible to visit
them outside camp visiting days? Pack some family photographs or a favorite stuffed animal
with their belongings; it can help put them at ease.

Safety

You want your kids to have fun at camp, but you also want them to be safe. One of the best
things you can do to prepare them, if they don’t already know how, is to teach them how to
swim. Most camps include a swimming program with access to a pool. Another popular activity
is hiking. Be sure that your kids have footwear with good traction. More generally, teach your
kids how to have fun without putting themselves in any danger.

Emergencies

Despite your best efforts, emergencies can happen. Hopefully, it won’t be anything serious, and
the camp doctor or nurse can take care of it. To be on the safe side, pack hard copies (front and
back) of your hospital, medical, and dental insurance cards with your kids’ belongings. A
hospital stay can be very costly without insurance.

Extra Trips

Many summer camps offer day or overnight trips to nearby ball games, amusement parks, or
other special places for an extra fee. These trips can be expensive, so before you sign your kids
up for them, ask the camp how many kids usually go on these trips and take a good hard look at
what you can afford. If only a few kids are going and the trips are expensive, don’t feel pressure
to sign your kids up. There are plenty of exciting activities for all the kids who remain at the
camp site.

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