Choose The Type Of Camp CarefullyMay 11, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line Consider where your child is at emotionally, physically, mentally, and her level of maturity before selecting a type of program. You know her best!
The very first thing you need to do to prepare to send your girls' into a camp program, is to decide what type of camp is appropriate for her age, interests, abilities, and maturity level.
A week long or longer sleep away program may not be something your child is ready for and you as her parent are the very best judge of how ready she is.
Here are some types of programs you may wish to investigate before you make a final decision.
1. Day Camps- These generally run on a Monday through Friday schedule from 8:30 am or so am until 4 or 5 o'clock. Many areas offer these through YWCA programs, girl scout camps, day care centers, city rec programs and even by interests. Depending on the place you choose to go through the type of activities will vary. Most include some form of arts and crafts, nature related activities, sports/games activities and much more. Some like the girl scout programs even offer girls entering grade 4 and up the opportunity for an optional overnight experience. This might be perfect for a child who has a limited experience with being away from home overnight and is reluctant to be away from mom and dad.
2. Mini Programs- Many sleep away type camps such as girl scouts and some religious affiliated ones are offering what are termed mini week programs. These function the same way as traditional sleep away camps, but only generally have the child stay away from home for 3 nights. Thus, the experience is not as in depth or intense. Not sure if your child is quite ready for the longer stay? Than this might be just perfect for you and a great introduction to the camping experience. These are also great for those with limited funds who may not be quite able to afford the longer program.
3. The Traditional Week or Two Long Sleep Away Camp- These are perfect for the child who desires a more in depth experience with camping and is ready to handle the challenge of being away from home for the longer period of time. You again know your child best so only go this route if you know your child is ready or she will be miserable.
4. Longer Camps- I would only recommend these to parents of older aged children as they are quite hard to handle and for anyone of any age being away from family and friends for a month or more can be daunting! Make sure your child is absolutely with no doubts in your mind ready for this type of experience.
Whatever type of program you choose, encourage your child to grow and learn from the experience and stay with it until the end. Homesickness may strike, but is not usually fatal, and if you have chosen your camp well they will be up to the challenge of dealing with it. Consider too, if you believe camp is not for you due to finances, that many programs offer scholarships or some other type of financial assistance.
One last thing to remember if your child is going to a sleep away camp is to send along some paper and pre addressed, stamped envelopes so she can write to you and share her experiences. Remember to write and if time permits to write back mentioning some of what she has shared through her letters. When homesickness strikes nothing is better than a smile sent from home!
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