We are confident your daughter’s upcoming summer at Rockbrook will be one of the most fun and rewarding experiences of her life. She’ll have a wonderful time, make really good friends, and look back fondly as she grows older. Camp is quite different from ordinary life, however, and it can take some adjustment to get the most out of this time away from home. Over the years, we have learned a few approaches that help make this transition to camp life a smooth one.
Let your daughter know how excited you are that she is going to Rockbrook!
Look over the camp materials together and talk about which activities she wants to try. Learn about and become familiar with camp procedures and schedules.
Start a new friendship by encouraging your daughter to write to her assigned Pen Pal.
Having one person she knows at camp makes the transition much easier (These are given out in the spring). All new campers will be paired up with another camper in their session and age group.
If she hasn’t had much experience sleeping away from home or in a rustic setting, set up some practice times.
You might camp together in the backyard or have her spend the weekend at a relative’s house.
If your daughter is nervous about coming to camp, reassure her that you know that she will do great and that all of the other girls feel the same way.
Even the campers who have been to Rockbrook for many years get a little anxious on opening day. Just advise her to be friendly and open to trying what camp has to offer.
Make sure she knows that everyone at home wants her to have a wonderful time at Rockbrook.
Avoid comments like “You will have fun, but I am going to miss you so much.” You want her to be excited about camp, and fully engaged with it, instead of worrying about home and how much the family misses her.
Most importantly, stay away from making early “pick up deals” with your daughter.
One of the worst things that you can tell your daughter is, “If you don’t like camp, then I’ll come get you.” This type of decision puts a big weight on a child’s shoulders and typically sets her up for failure. She will be so preoccupied and overwhelmed with deciding whether or not to go home that she will never fully embrace camp. Be sure to read about the traps to avoid as a first-time camp parent.
Listen to and talk about her concerns.
As the first day of camp nears, some children understandably experience uneasiness about going off to camp. Rather than acting on what you believe her feelings to be, ask good questions such as: “We’ve been busy packing your gear. What are your thoughts about heading off to camp in a few days?” Communicate your confidence in her ability to handle being away from home and remind her about “small victories,” successes she has experienced in other situations.
Have realistic expectations.
Camp, like the rest of life, has high points and low ones. Not every moment will necessarily 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.
A special note for your young camper:
Remember that your daughter will be in charge of taking a shower and washing her hair, along with keeping up with her belongings. If she’s new to this, it’s a good idea to take time practicing these skills before camp begins.