Remember when you registered your child for summer camp in January and it seemed like an eternity away? Well...now it's coming! How do you pack? What about homesickness? How can you set your camper up for success so they have the most exciting and impactful summer experience?
Here are some tips to help you get there! And you can always call (208-788-0897) or email us at the Camp Office!
Videos to Watch - Dr. Chris Thurber, a 30 year Summer Camp Director Veteran, Child Psychologist and Staff Training Coach has two presentations on YouTube with some excellent tips on getting ready for summer camp.
"Summer camp is more than a vacation for children," says Bruce Muchnick, Ed.D., a licensed psychologist who works extensively with day and resident camps. "As a parent, there are a few things to consider to increase the opportunity for a rewarding camp experience for your child."
Some helpful suggestions provided by Dr. Muchnick include:
Consider camp as a learning experience.
This is an opportunity for your child to explore a world bigger than his/her neighborhood and a chance for you and your child to practice "letting go." Letting go allows children to develop autonomy and a stronger sense of self, make new friends, develop new social skills, learn about teamwork, be creative, and more. This time also allows parents an opportunity to take care of themselves so that they will feel refreshed when their child returns home.
Prepare for camp together.
Decisions about camp - like where to go and what to pack - should be a joint venture, keeping in mind your child's maturity. If your child feels a part of the decision-making process, his/her chances of having a positive experience will improve.
Talk about concerns.
As the first day of camp nears, some children experience uneasiness about going away. Encourage your child to talk about these feelings rather than acting on what you think his/her feelings may be. Communicate confidence in your child's ability to handle being away from home.
Have realistic expectations.
Camp, like the rest of life, has high and low points. Not every moment will be filled with wonder and excitement. Encourage your child to have a reasonable and realistic view of camp. Discuss both the ups and downs your child may experience. Your child should not feel pressured to succeed at camp, either. The main purposes of camp are to relax and have fun.
I read this article written by a 12-year old Blogger named Hannah Alper who 10 Tips for Nervous Kids Going to Summer Camp. She shares her experience and advice with other kids getting ready for camp. She's got come GREAT ideas! Here are a few of her ideas...
Here is some advice for people who are going to overnight camp for the first (second or third) time:
1. Make friends with the people in your cabin. Introduce yourself to everyone. I always had friends outside of my cabin. It is always good to have a lot of friends to get you through the lonely or homesick times.
2. If it's your first time at overnight camp, it's probably also the first time for most of the kids in your cabin. You are not the only one. It will make you feel better to know that.
3. I was mostly nervous about the nighttime. My mom's advice to me was "all you have to do is make it through the night and then you will have so much fun in the day." The days are so much fun at camp. Remember this at night.
4. Try talking to your counselors if you're feeling homesick. It feels good and they can make you feel better. They were also first-time campers even though it was a really, really long time ago!
5. When you're packing for camp, collect some pictures of your family and bring some tape so that you can have them on the wall at your bunk.
Read the rest of her article here. Lots of great tips for parents and campers! We are looking forward to having your kiddos here as campers!
~Signe White, Executive Director
The best at-home prevention strategies include:
- working together as a family to select a camp, plan, and pack
- spending practice time away from home, such as a long weekend at a friend's house
- experimenting with the best coping strategies during this practice separation
- preparing pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes to bring to camp
What do we commit to do for your camper while they are at Camp Perkins?
- We will stay busy! Boredom is the enemy of camp!
- We will be available for them to talk with with! Assure them we are there to help.
- Help them know that they're not at camp for their whole life-just a week.
- Provide time for them to write home.
The most common mistake parents make is the Pick-Up Deal. It's normal for children to ask, "What if I feel homesick?" Tell your child that some feelings of homesickness are normal and help him practice coping before camp starts. But never ever say, "If you feel homesick, I'll come and get you." This conveys a message of doubt and pity that undermines children's confidence and independence. Pick-Up Deals become mental crutches and self-fulfilling prophecies for children as soon as they arrive at camp. If, after spending practice time away from home, a child is still very anxious about overnight camp, consider waiting a until next summer.
The Good News
When children arrive at camp with a repertoire of coping strategies and some practice time away from home under their belts, they are ready for those normal feelings of homesickness. Sure, they'll miss home, but they'll know exactly what to think and do when it bothers them. Best of all, the staff at Camp Perkins will be here to help. Nothing boosts children's self-esteem quite like overcoming a bout of homesickness and learning how good they are at controlling the amount of fun they have. Camp truly is a classroom for life lessons.
- Consider arranging for a first-time camper to attend with a close friend. One method to combat potential homesickness is to come to camp with a buddy. If the buddy is close in age and signed up for the same program, they can room together in the same cabin. We have a great "Bring a Friend to Camp" offer for you as well!
- It is FINE, and sometimes more fun, to have a "fresh start" by coming on your own. If your child is coming alone, assure them that the camp counselors will make every effort to help them adjust and make new friends! The first activities the counselors lead are get-acquainted activities. Through these activities, the counselors and campers get to know each other.
- Don't buy a brand-new wardrobe. While one or two new items are fine, camp life can be a bit rough on clothing. Children, especially first-timers, will also find "old favorites" reassuring when away from home. Consider writing the name of your child in important clothes, especially for young campers. Review the Summer Camp Info with the packing list and what to bring.
- Spend time talking to your child about what camp will be like and listen to any fears and concerns. Remind your child that apprehension and homesickness are perfectly normal feelings. Scroll through our Virtual Tour on Facebook. Watch the videos of Camp Perkins on YouTube to help them see some of the videos on our YouTube Channel... - Camp Perkins: A Mountain Adventure. Or Camp Perkins Summer Adventure.
We have good news to share that should make your life easier when it comes to registering for camps and retreats!
Beginning January 1, 2016, we will have an updated registration system.
What are the upgrades?
- Create an account and save your household information to register for future camps and retreats
- Register more than one child in the same family within the same account
- View and pay balances
- Update household information (change contact information, add household members)
- Oh, and did we mention you won’t have to re-enter all the information on yourself or your child the next time you register for a camp or retreat?
We hope this will make the registration process faster and more convenient for you!
How will it work?
When you register for a camp or retreat, you will be asked to create a login to access or create your account.
(Hint: If you have registered for an event in the past, use the same email for your login that you used when you registered before, and your household information will already be pre-entered!)
Hey, what about the CampDoc system we used last year for Health Care and other camper forms?
Great news! If you used it last year, you will log into your account and update or verify the information, but you will not have to re-enter all the information. (The link to your account will be sent to you again from CampDoc for your convenience.)
If you are registering for the first time, you will receive a link from CampDoc to create an account and fill out the Health Care and other online camper forms. Next year, you will simply update or verify the record.
We hope these improvements will make it easier for you to register for events at camp! Gee, what will you do with all the extra time?
Since 2011, we have been blessed by generous donations to the For the Children Fund in order to bring children to Camp Perkins from the City Light Mission. We appreciate the support from our community and now the story is spreading! Check it out on the LC-MS Northwest District Campfire page for the story of Jayden and Francisco.
If you'd like to be a part of helping more kids get to camp, you can donate on-line or contact the camp office for more information.