Blog  7 Tips for First Time Campers and Their Parents

7 Tips for First Time Campers and Their Parents

Getting your camper ready for their first summer at 6 Points Sports Academy.

Sending your child off to sleep away camp for the first time can be a little nerve-wracking, sometimes more so for you than your camper!  Imagining that first time away may have you wondering and worrying about your child taking care of themselves. Will my child brush their teeth every night? Does my child know how to make the bed and if not, will someone help? What if my child loses all of their socks or WORSE… wears the SAME socks every day? Will my child miss me?

At 6 Points Sports Academy, we understand the leap of faith you take when sending your child to camp for the first time.  That is why we want you to know that from the second your camper steps foot onto camp, we will care for them as if they are our own.  In an effort to set your camper up for success, here are a few tips to help you and your child get ready for camp.

Start Talking Now is a good time to start a dialogue with your camper about going away to sleepaway camp and what that experience might be like.  Share your own positive camp experiences or enlist friends and relatives to share about theirs.  Listen to your camper’s concerns, validate their worries, and problem solve together what to do in a given situation.  Let them know their counselors will be living in the dorm with them and are there to help them.

Complete the Camper Information Form – Share some of your child’s concerns/fears with us via the camper questionnaire by sitting with them to help answer the questions.  We really do read each and every one and will share with your child’s counselor if they are afraid of thunderstorms, has trouble falling asleep, etc.  The more we know, the more prepared we are to help your child adjust to the camp setting.

Enlist Your Child’s Help – Pack for camp together.  Packing together is great way to talk about all the exciting, fun and new experiences they are about to have. It is also helpful for your child to know what is going into their duffle bag so they know what belongs to them.

Label Everything clearly with your child’s name (even their toothbrush!).  It is much easier for us to help a child keep track of their things when their full name appears somewhere on the item.  (A dorm with 20 campers can have 3 Joshes or 4 Sophies, we need the full name.)

Practice Written Communication – CampInTouch (CIT) has made it very easy to communicate with your camper while they are away.  Keep in touch with your camper by sharing a few of the things that are going on at home.  Ask one or two directed questions so your camper has a focus when writing back.  We distribute mail during rest hour giving your camper time to write back.  Send your child to camp prepared to write a letter.  Practice letter writing when they come home from school or at the end of the day.  Instead of asking how his/her day went, write a letter and have him/her respond in writing.

Try not to share sad news via camp mail.  If something happens you would like your child to know about call the office and speak with camper care.  We will help you find an appropriate way to share the news.

Final Jitters and Drop Off – Whether you are putting your child on a plane or dropping them off at camp yourself, saying goodbye can be hard even for campers who have only shown excitement up until that point.  We are prepared to welcome your camper with open arms even if they present as sad or unsure.  We will take them in, engage them in camp activities, introduce them to dorm-mates, and do our best to ease the transition.  Try not to linger at the airport gate, or at camp once you have dropped your child especially if either of you are feeling sad and tearful.  We will keep in touch via phone with the parents of any camper whose transition is difficult.

Don’t Worry Too Much! – Campers rise to the occasion! Campers who are worried about going to camp usually have an amazing time.  Campers who need constant reminders at home to clear their plate, make their bed, and pick up their clothes will rise to the occasion at camp.  The combination of coaches, counselors and dorm-mates are strong motivators. You will be amazed by what your camper is capable of achieving.

6 Points Sports Academy is a place where your child will learn to do things for themselves, improve their athletic skills, feel more connected to Judaism, and make lifetime friends. We are here to facilitate this process and it is an honor and privilege to do so.

Always Looking forward to Camp –

Rachel Handloff
Lifetime Camper

Rachel Handloff is currently the Lower School Principal at The Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville, MD. Prior to this role she has been a middle school and lower school guidance counselor. She has spent more than 30 summers at camp as a camper, counselor, unit head, and leadership team member. At URJ 6 Points Sports Academy, Rachel has done it all! She is thrilled to return this summer to assist on the Leadership Team.

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