Is your seven or eight-year old clamoring to set off on the grand adventure of overnight summer camp? Kids get bitten by the sleepaway camp bug when they hear about cabin shenanigans, daring high ropes courses, canoeing on the lake and munching gooey s’mores by the campfire. How do you know if they’re really ready to head off into the wilderness for several weeks or longer? Ask yourself a few basic questions, and you’ll have some idea if your youngster is really camp-ready.Is Your Child Comfortable Sleeping Away from Home?Has your child spent time sleeping away from home at a grandparent’s or friend’s home? Is she comfortable at sleepovers with a group of kids or does she ask to go home in the middle of the night? Although summer camp is a longer stretch of time, if your youngster does well staying elsewhere, she has a good chance of adjusting to summer camp.Is Your Future Camper Independent?Being at sleepaway camp does require a certain amount of independence. Kids should be able to take care of themselves and their belongings with minimal supervision. Brushing teeth, keeping track of clothes and figuring out camp schedules are some basic skills your child will need at camp. Although counselors are there to supervise and help out, campers are expected to be responsible for the basics of cabin living.Does Your Youngster Adjust Easily to New Situations?Does your youngster adjust easily to new places and situations? Does he make friends easily? If so, it’s likely that he’ll have an easy transition to the new setting, routines and acquaintances of summer camp. A child who warms up more slowly and tends to be more of a “home body” may need a bit more help adjusting to the sleepaway camp experience. In this case, going to camp with a friend or attending the same camp as a sibling may be helpful.Can Your Child Follow Directions?Part of being at camp is cooperating with counselors, staff and other adult leaders. Your child should be ready and able to follow directions and treat staff with respect. Campers learn a lot of amazing things at camp, from swimming, climbing, canoeing to sailing and gymnastics. And to get the most out of the experience, campers need to be able to listen to and cooperate with instructors and leaders.Does the Camp Have Shorter Sessions?Some camps allow an option of first-time campers attending for a shorter than normal period of time, perhaps a week or two rather than a month or the whole summer. If your youngster finds they love camp so much that a week or two isn’t long enough, it’s a pretty sure thing that next summer they’ll be ready to sign on for the whole season.What Kind of Camp Interests Your Child?Summer camp programs vary quite a bit. Some are traditional style camp, focused on recreation and outdoor adventures, while others may be more focused on sports, theater or music. Be sure your child is asking about attending a camp you feel would be appropriate for his interests. In some camps, options are available to concentrate on certain interests, such as gymnastics or trampoline, while still incorporating traditional camp activities.
For kids and parents, summer camp is often an afterthought to all the other plans they might have for summer. Here are five reasons why summer camp should be at the top of your summer plans.Beat Nature Deficit Disorder
Nature Deficit Disorder was a term invented by Richard Louv, who went into great depth on the subject in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. Louv laments that parents on one hand overprotect today’s children while children, on the other hand, forego outdoor activity in favor of spending too much time “on screen.”Louv asks, “How can we underestimate children’s need for respite from CNN, school stress or family tension?” He argues that children benefit greatly from the healing offered by the natural world. Kids need nature “for the healthy development of their senses, and therefore, for learning and creativity.”Kids’ confidence improves
Pulled out of his or her comfort zone, a child at camp discovers new abilities and new, improved ways of interacting with others. Stephen Fine, the co-director of Hollows Camp in Ontario says, “Co-operation and negotiation are inherent to the camp experience.” Kids at camp dramatically increase their “confidence levels and their ability to be in social situations.”Troy Glover, a researcher at the University of Waterloo, says summer camp “develops emotional intelligence in children by making them more empathetic.” Glover says there is inherent value in participating in “day to day activities with a group of people that you have to learn to live with.”Physical literacy
Kelly Murumets, chief executive at ParticipAction Canada, advocates for the way kids at summer camp acquire healthy physical activity habits, acquiring what she calls “physical literacy.” Kids who go to summer camp gain “skills that allow them to adopt more physically active lives.” They are “more physically active throughout the year and as adults as well.”Kids play!
Unstructured playtime seems to be largely a thing of the past, sadly, but camp helps kids develop an appreciation for this. Michelle Brownrigg, chief executive of Active Healthy Kids Canada, says that play is critical to kids learning unique social skills “in an environment that ‘s not necessarily focused on a competitive end.” She laments that unstructured playtime is “one of the most decreased areas of discretionary time in the past decade.”Unique summer learning
While we should never forget that camp is a ton of fun for kids, it also entails a lot of learning. Tom Potter of Lakehead University says that camp learning goes beyond cognitive learning to emotional learning – which is deeper in many ways. He also notes that many outdoor activities provide a unique, immediate feedback loop. “If (kids) are sailing a sailboat and it’s going in the right direction, they’ll get feedback on that,” says Potter.Also at camp, kids pick up skills in archery, canoeing, orienteering and geocaching, for example. Kids often don’t even notice that they are learning anything because they are simply having too much fun. Glover admits, “parents today – and I’m one of them – tend to bubble wrap kids. Camp is an opportunity to elude that bubble wrap and to let them explore who they are and what they can do.”
Family camping can give everyone in your family the opportunity to experience the outdoors firsthand. Whether it you use family tents or a camper the whole family will be able to engage in hunting, fishing, plant study, swimming, canoeing, nature photography and wildlife watching.Likewise, family tent camping can deliver a lot of physical benefit because it encourages outdoor activities and enthusiasts contend that family camping imparts confidence in children. Not only that it also offers opportunities for adult campers to challenge themselves when in unfamiliar surroundings.Day hikingDay hikes are becoming more popular with campers of all ages. Anyone that is capable of walking moderate to long distances can do this. The objective of a ay hike is to hike or walk for the day then return back to your camp site the same day, generally as the sun begins to fall.In addition to being able to walk long distances, you must also to be prepared for any weather conditions. You will also need to have right tools and techniques so that you can find the most direct route back to your campsite.Probably the most important thing to keep in mind when hiking is selecting the correct footwear. Hiking is defined as walking which means that you are always “on your feet”. It is imperative that purchase footwear designed specifically for hiking and shoes or boots that are comfortable on your feet. Comfort while walking is the primary objective it is not to make you look good.People are attracted to this “sport” because every individual sets himself an objective then strives hard so to achieve it. Hiking is an undertaking that requires some commitment and planning.Trailer Tent Camping Or RV CampingRV stands for Recreational Vehicle and RV campers have the benefit of traveling at their own home and are able to camp in different places without sacrificing comfort that RV vehicles offer.An RV is comparable to having a small home on wheels and most come complete with heater, oven, refrigerator, shower, stove, beds, toilet, and “12-volt” electrical power. Many RV enthusiasts say they enjoy their “mini hotels” because they are always “packed and ready-to-go”.You can also enjoy the cooking, bathing and sleeping convenience the vehicle offers while in a distant or remote campground.If you have never experienced trailer tent camping or camping in an RV it would be a very sensible decision to rent one first to make sure you will enjoy the RV lifestyle and that it suits you.BackpackingBackpacking is one of the most exciting and basic ways to experience a wilderness adventure. Backpacking will add new excitement and elements of adventure into any hiking experience. You are able to travel far into the back country because you are not obligated to go back to your campsite at the day’s end.It is exploring on foot the beautiful and wild country that is out there. It also gives you the experience of being self-sufficient. You are able to hike and carry camping essentials in a comfortable backpack and set camp mostly in undeveloped and primitive areas.Put simply, backpacking entails carrying all the essential camping supplies on your “back”. The longer your trip, the more supplies you need to carry. What you will be taking along with you as well as how far you will hike actually depends on you.Preparing for your backpacking trip involves assembling, selecting and packing supplies and gear that you need and want to bring along with you. A lightweight 2 person tent is a necessity.Selecting the rest of your backpacking gear is critical to having a successful trip. Excessive gear or especially the wrong kind of tent camping gear can will be too heavy and you will not enjoy your hike.Likewise, bringing incorrect or too little gear will result to discomfort under certain conditions and may even dangerous.The Internet is a filled with stores devoted to tent camping gear and as also will provide useful tent camping information. Carefully studying your tent camping gear will enable you to purchase proper gear for you intended hikes.The selection of tent camping gear is constantly evolving with many new improvements every year. Research will help you to find out what tent camping gear best suits your backpacking requirements.Backpacking gear can costs more when compared to car camping, however it is much less than either trailer tent camping or RV camping.Family Tent CampingFamily tents are usually most attractive to families with children because children. The kids generally enjoy camping the most and because is exciting and the parents like it because it is inexpensive.Family tent camping generally uses a car to transport camping equipment to any established campground that offers full amenities that allow direct car access. The family tent is large enough to accommodate the whole family under one roof.Family tents can provide experiences that will be remember for years by your kids.Whatever type of camping you choose, be sure to keep safety in mind. Camping is a fun filled activity the entire family and when done properly you all have a great time and will look forward to every camping season.