Updated: Mar 22
Over 10 million kids attend summer camp each year in the United States. That sounds like a lot but most kids don’t attend either a day or overnight camp. In fact, less than one in five kids between the ages of 5 and 19 attend camp and the percentage going to overnight programs is much lower than day programs. Many don’t have an opportunity to attend while others can, but have a range of concerns. If not addressed, it becomes more likely that they’ll refuse to go or have a challenging time once there.
On a completely anecdotal basis, I asked my daughter who has attended day camp periodically in the past whether she’d like to go to overnight camp and why. Of course, there are many great reasons for your child to attend camp, many of which are covered in other blog entries and articles on goCamps.com.
As to the question of whether she’d like to go, a definite “no!” Of course, it might have been a knee jerk reaction, but that was her response.
Here’s what she said when I asked “why?”
“I don’t know anyone and I’ll miss being home. Maybe if a friend went with me that would be okay.”
Like most kids, they spend a bit of time online so making friends in live settings outside of school has become a bit rare. On the other hand, if a friend or sibling was to attend with her, she’d feel much more enthusiastic about becoming an overnight camper.
“Spiders and bugs crawling on me when I’m sleeping!”
That’s understandable. Who wants bugs to take a tour of your body while sleeping…or any other time. Lice, bedbugs and ticks are not our friends. There are steps each camp operator can take to control these pests. Asking them what they are will reassure you and your camper.
“I need my privacy!”
Find out how bathrooms are set up and maintained at camp. Generally, they’ll be serviced daily and systems will be in place so each camper will have their privacy when using the facilities. Once learned, share the information with your camper.
“The food is yucky!”
She’s convinced that even if there are items she generally likes on the menu, they won’t be prepared in a way she’s used to. Picky, picky, picky! First, find out what the camp menu consists of and share that with your child. Chances are, they’ll have lots of their favorite items. When they hear about all the choices, they’ll feel much better about the possibilities for good food.
A great way to help you and your camper with the these issues in addition to speaking directly with a camp representative would be to speak to a few families who’s camper has attended in the past. That way, you’ll cover all your child’s concerns and then some. That just might be an introduction to your camper’s first friend when they arrive for camp!