Everything You Wanted to Know about Camp But Was Afraid to Ask
January 26, 2017 by Camp Pages


Pre-Camp Advice

  1. Set your child up for success by visiting and touring the camp prior to their first day.
  2. Call other parents whose children attend the camp for helpful information and a reference. You could also schedule a get together with families attending the same camp so your camper can start getting to know their camp friends.
  3. Get excited with your child and help them mentally prepare. Mark the first day of camp on the calendar, create a checklist of items for camp, talk about what to expect and how they can cope with different situations they may face.
  4. When your child is at camp, don’t schedule a significant family event. The disappointment of missing a family celebration will outweigh the camp experience.
  5. Talk to your child about homesickness. Tell them it’s normal and encourage them to talk to other campers or counsellors about their feelings. Even the most tearful, clingy camper will ultimately adjust. Don’t make promises or statements you’ll regret such as “if you’re really, really homesick I’ll come and pick you up”. Communicate confidence in his/her ability to handle being away from home. Packing a favourite item or going to camp with a friend may help ease your child’s homesickness. When writing to children, avoid dwelling on how much you miss them or what they are missing out on at home.
  6. Write your child letters (even a few days before camp starts so they’ll get them in the first few days). “Mail Call” is a big event at camp.
  7. Talk with your child about what to expect at camp. Are calls home allowed? Is there a time for parents to visit?
  8. After your child returns home, encourage them to practice their new skills, and encourage them to maintain their friendships through e-mails, letters or phone calls.

Q&A Time

  1. What is the camp’s staff-to-camper ratio? This ratio indicates the overall level of supervision that the camp can provide your camper.
  2. What measures does the camp take to ensure the safety of the campers? You should learn about the ages and qualifications of the staff, the camp’s protocols of supervision and risk management, and the guidelines set for campers(e.g., boundaries, water safety).
  3. What is the camp’s staff return rate? A high staff return rate indicates good staff supervision, dedication to camp programs, and a high level of tradition.
  4. What programs does the camp offer? Are you looking for a traditional and varied camp program, or a camp where campers hone a particular set of skills/talents?
  5. How do the campers choose their programs at camp? Asking for a description of a “typical day at camp” will give you a good idea of the campers’ schedule, and will help you determine whether or not the campers’ time is being spent productively, actively and enjoyably.
  6. What does the camp director/staff want the campers to take away with them at the end of their camping experience? The camp director’s answer to this question will reveal the overall values and philosophies of the camp.
  7. What is the camp director’s background and what are his/her qualifications? The camp director’s age, experience, education, character and overall level of maturity will determine her/ his ability to run the camp safely, smoothly, and interact appropriately with staff and campers.
  8. What kind of health-care facility/staff is available to the campers? Answers should give the parent confidence that the camp is equipped (onsite) or has a strategy in place to ensure quick and competent emergency response and everyday wellness.


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