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Get the Most Out of Camp!

Before and after camp strategies

Get the Most Out of Camp!
June 2013

Your child's summer Camp experience will be one he or she remembers forever – and one that will help to develop the social, emotional and cognitive skills for success in school and beyond. To get the most out of your child's experience this summer at camp, send them off with the right attitude and confidence; and when they come home, reinforce those newfound skills and positive outlooks. Here are a few tips for maximizing the benefits of camp.


Share the prep work

Camp decisions, like which camp to attend and what to pack, should be made together. When children feel that they are part of the decision-making process, they are more comfortable – a key to a successful summer camp experience.

Talk, talk, talk

It is only natural that as the first day of camp approaches, some children may experience uneasiness about going away. Encourage your child to talk about these feelings. Parents should let their child know that they are confident in the child's ability to handle being away from home. Remind the child of other times they have been away from home successfully – sleepovers with friends or family, etc. The expression of confidence is the first ingredient to resilience.


Remember to remind

When campers come home, they often keep the spirit of camp alive for a week or two, and then things trail off as new experiences reenter their schedules. However, many of the attributes from camp will help your child as they go forward. Use positive reinforcement to remind campers that you appreciate the positive attitude and willingness to help that they developed at camp. Help them name and claim those new skills.

Become camp-like

Families can set the example by demonstrating a willingness to change something at home in order to sustain some of the changes campers have made. Perhaps your camper used a job wheel in his or her camp group to outline chores. Why not make one for your home? Camp activities can easily transfer and add value to your home "camp."

Everyone gets a say

At camp, children help determine how their day is spent. Camp is designed to promote independence and interdependence as an individual and community. Campers' advice is actively sought, and their contributions are valued. Emulating this environment at home allows them to continue to make self-disciplined choices and feel like a contributing member of the household.

Avoid the negative compliment

Reinforce any new, positive behaviors with positive language. Instead of saying, "you never did this before," say something such as, "I noticed how patient you were with your little brother."

About ACA

The American Camp Association® (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 290 health and safety standards. For more information, visit a href=http://www.ACAcamps.org>www.ACAcamps.org.

Tags: Camp, In This Issue, Parenting

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