Sleep Away Camp Survival Guide
7 Tips for a Successful Sleep Away
by Sara Kendall
The first time at a sleep away camp is a wonderful rite of passage for children. They make new friends, learn new skills and exert some independence. These guidelines will set your child up for a successful summer adventure and increase their chances for an all-out blast!
It is important for your child to be familiar with the camp facilities. Review the website and brochures. Get an understanding of the daily routine, camp layout and activities.
Where’s the bathroom? If in a separate building, prepare your child. Practice walking outside at night with a flashlight to give them a better understanding of the limited view and the sounds of the night.
Whether a tent or cabin, your child will be bunking with others. If your child is a sleep away camp veteran, this shouldn’t be a concern. If they’ve never experienced a sleepover, plan a couple to give them an understanding of appropriate behavior when sharing sleeping quarters with others.
Bunk beds are common, with top bunks being a highly sought after prize. Check with the camp to see if bunks are assigned. If not, arrive early, ahead of the crowd for a chance to claim one of the premium sleeping spots.
The Pack Up
Get your child involved so they know everything going with them. Start with the camp’s packing list. Nothing says camp like comfortable clothes. Leave fashion statements at home. Label clothing and personal items with your child’s name. This may avoid a misunderstanding with a friend and help with the return of a missing item.
Check the camp’s policy on electronic items. Some confiscate them until the end of camp. Knowing this could save your child some unwanted hassle.
Bug spray is necessary to keep pesky bugs from biting. Sunscreen is essential to avoid sunburn. Head wear can provide shade from the sun. Rain gear and rubber boots will come in handy on rainy days. A laundry bag is great place to stow dirty clothes.
A writing journal and camera are perfect items to record and remember their adventure. Stationery and stamps will give them a way to share their camp experiences with friends and family. A little hand-held fan can ease the heat in a tent or cabin that isn’t air conditioned.
Talk with your child about a few hygiene tips to avoid unpleasant discomforts. It’s important to wear flip-flops in a shower to avoid contact from the bacteria that can be found in public showers. Wearing flip-flops in a shower is good, but wearing swimwear is not. It’s okay to bring your bathing suit in the shower to give it a rinse. To get yourself clean, you need to shower sans clothing.
A Supportive Send-off
As the first day of camp gets closer, the excitement will certainly build, but so can some apprehension. If you see uncertainty clouding your child’s confidence, have a spirit boosting chat. Be positive. Send the message that you are excited for your child and want them to have fun at sleep away camp.