Director Jud's Blog

Tips for Getting Your Child Ready for an Overnight Camp Experience

Posted by Jud Millar on Mon, Mar 15, 2021


Getting your child ready for an overnight camp experience can feel overwhelming.  In this blog post we look at 10 tips about getting your child ready for an overnight camp experience:


  1. Read ALL of the documentation provided to you and your child from the camp. Why? Because it was sent to you for many reasons, mostly for the safety and well being of your child. The summer camp business is an industry and not a single camp director wants any child to have anything less than a positive experience. If there's something about camp (i.e. a strict no electronics policy) that you and your child do not want to be blindsided by, it very well could have been in the documentation you received. Encourage your child to read the information, too.
  1. Check with your family doctor/pediatrician to be sure that your child's medical records are up-to-date. You may need to schedule an appointment for your child with a medical professional. Do this at least two months before camp so that any and all important documents can be sent to camp before your child arrives.

    3 photo collage of Campers participating in the different water sports activities in SMA
  1. Talk to your child weekly as camp approaches. What are they looking forward to? Any concerns? Whether it's your child's first or fifth time to camp, it never hurts to talk about their feelings. A seven year old going to camp is different than a twelve year old, especially if that child is switching camps.
  1. Connect with other parents whose children are attending the same camp. Maybe you can carpool or caravan to camp? Maybe you can take the kids to camp and the other family can pick them up, or vice versa.
  1. New Call-to-actionPlan YOUR own summer vacation while your kid is at camp? YES! You and your partner deserve some time away, too. Be sure to let your child's camp director know all of your travel details along with emergency contacts (camp's do this anyway), but it doesn't hurt to send one more email to the camp director before you depart, especially if it's out of the country. Be honest with your child, too, so that there aren't any surprises.
  1. Read the packing list. Read it again. Read it with your child. If it's not on the list, your child probably doesn't need it. Throw in extra underwear and a t-shirt? Sure. If you're not sure about something, ask to talk to a veteran camper/parent. Also, be sure NOT to send anything you or your child is not willing to lose. Items get lost and/or damaged. Leave your name brand clothes behind. 
  1. Send pre-addressed (include grandma, grandpa, and that other special relative or family friend), pre-stamped envelopes, paper, and pen. Trust me. You'll be glad you did. If you don't receive anything, then your child is busy, exhausted, and having fun.
  1. Double check drop off and pick up dates and time. A camper once flew in to Dulles a daySMA Teen Camp Daily Schedule early from South Africa (we are at least three hours from Dulles!). Another camper pulled up in his parents' car a day early to first session and some of my staff weren't able to have their last free night before camp started. Another camper sat with his luggage and several counselors on the final day of the summer. He was supposed to be picked up by noon. His dad finally answered his cell phone at 1pm from the Atlanta airport. So, you get my point. When kids arrive too early and leave too late, they're often embarrassed or feel forgotten. Additionally, check other drop off/pick up expectations. If it says "no pets," please respect the camp's rule for everyone's safety.
  1. If you're nervous about sending your child to camp, call or email the director. It's perfectly natural to feel trepidation about sending one's child to camp. Try turning that apprehension into excitement so your child isn't uncomfortable about camp. It can make a huge difference.
  1. Check your child's camp's care package/mail/phone call expectations. Our rule of thumb is "no news is good news" and, again, it just means your child is engaged and doing fine without you. Sending a few sweets is okay, but, remember, your child is receiving nutritious, healthy meals and camp staff eat with campers and keep an eye on their habits just in case. "Snail mail" is awesome and who doesn't enjoy receiving a hand written note?!
    Picture of 2 camp tent and a standalone Camper

Topics: 2 Week Summer Camp

About Director Jud's Blog

This blog will give you the "411" about everything that is Stone Mountain Adventures Teen Summer Camp!  Everything from "Summer Updates" to useful family and camp resources.  Check it out! 

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