Question of the Month
Dear Minorcan Mama,
I am sending my daughter to sleep-away camp for the first time this summer! Help! I’m nervous, she’s nervous, what tips do you have for me?
Happy, but nervous, Campers
1. READ! Make sure that you read the Camp policy on everything from how and when to communicate with your daughter while she’s away to what to pack, and follow it.
2. FIND FRIENDS! Find out if other children from your area are going to the same Camp as your daughter and make arrangements to meet up with them beforehand.
3. PACK LIGHT! Pack only what the camp suggests. Since this is the first time your daughter is going, make her “stuff,” as easy to manage as possible, don’t pack extras. What you do pack you may wish to organize in large Ziploc baggies, making sure to separate clothes from toiletries.
4. GET EXCITED! Get excited about the new things your daughter will learn and the memories she’ll make. Get your daughter excited, too! Have her make the list of things she’ll need for Camp and then go shopping. Doing something as small as choosing her own toothpaste will get her pumped! Help her make a list of things that she is looking forward to doing and learning at camp; encourage her to include things like making new friends, learning new skills, and becoming more responsible.
5. PACK NOTES! Laurel, on Facebook, suggested pre-written notes packed in her bag. What a great idea as calls are sometimes limited the first few days! I suggest you label the notes to be opened certain days. Don’t make them too long, even a funny quote or cartoon will help her to feel connected to home.
6. ENCOURAGE WRITING BACK! Pack self-addressed stamped envelopes and stationery to encourage your daughter to write you back, but don’t be disappointed if she doesn’t write. Camps are very busy and she might be too exhausted to write.
7. PACK LOVE(YS)! If the camp allows it, pack a “lovey,” or special stuffed animal from home.
8. MAKE YOUR GOODBYE SHORT & SWEET! You will both be a mix of emotion, it will be easier if you say good-bye and leave as quickly as possible.
9. MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS! Your child will probably have ups and downs at camp and may be homesick one day, and fine the next, this is all part of the experience of Sleep-Away Camp.
10. CELEBRATE! Josephine on Facebook’s advice was to celebrate, and you should! Celebrate that your daughter is growing into a responsible young lady and is going to have a great time at camp learning new things and making memories that will last a lifetime! Celebrate yourself, you have raised this amazing daughter and you deserve to spend some time relaxing and doing something that you enjoy, renewing yourself, so that when she returns you are ready to have another year of adventures with her!
Take my tips and you will both be ‘Happy Campers!’
Minorcan Mama is a 30-something, St. Augustine Native Minorcan, trying her hardest to raise her modern kids with an appreciation of their roots, their history and a love of the great out-of-doors. Send her your questions about family, parenting, relationships and whatever else you can think of to firstname.lastname@example.org She loves being “social,” at www.facebook.com/minorcanmama and www.twitter.com/minorcanmama Also, stay tuned for her new Website and Blog coming this month!