It’s Time To Say Goodbye

We love to share camp experiences from parents that have once been campers or who are experiencing camp for the first time through their kids.  Whatever their camp story, this time is truly special, you’re saying “goodbye for 7 weeks… hello memories for life”.  We had to share Melissa’s story, from her own camp story to experiencing it as a parent, we couldn’t agree with her thoughts more.  Check it out here. As do our campers, we truly live 10 for 2!

1st Year Camper? We Got You Covered

It’s an exciting time for you and your camper, their first year at overnight camp.  We have a few ideas to help them get excited about camp and stay excited.

Gifts

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Gift giving makes everyone smile. Plan for a few family members or family friends to send a camp related gift before camp starts. Something special, personalized and unique. A few of our families give personalized pillows & blankets. Check out some of the latest camp gift trends like Ga-Ga gloves, personalized clothing, and bunk games.

Camp Playdates

Perfect-Scoop-1The more, the better!  Get a list of campers in your child’s age group and see who lives close by.  Scheduling a group playdate for ice cream or roller skating will be a blast. The more people your first-time camper gets to meet before the first day of camp the less anxious they will feel.  If you can’t schedule an actual playdate, schedule a facetime meet & greet.

Sealed & Delivered

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Many of the camps suggest sending a letter a week before camp starts.  Campers love receiving mail and will love it even more if they have mail waiting for them. Remember, they call it “snail mail” for a reason.  Leave plenty of time for the letter to get to camp.

Don’t Freak Out: Get Organized

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It’s that time to get organized, don’t worry we’re here to help. Here are just a few of our favorite Summer packing tips:

  • Be in the know. Get to know any camp regulations regarding bunk items.
  • Include  pre-stamped envelopes or pre-addressed postcards, we promise you’ll get more letters this way.
  • Label all of your items with your child’s name. Triple check everything!
  • Home items, make sure your child packs pictures and fun items that remind them of home.  You want their “camp home” to feel cozy. Especially the bed, order mattress pads or egg crates for the extra comfort.
  • Send a letter to your child at camp before camp begins, tell other family members to do the same.
  • Pack with your kids. Let them see what you are packing so when they get to camp they had an idea of what was in their bag.  Show them you packed specific shoes for certain sports or where the extra batteries are tucked away.  Most camps will unpack the younger campers for them, so when they arrive their area is all set up.  It’s still a good idea for them to know what was packed.
  • Pack Smart. Protect breakable items such as a tennis racket, make sure its protected.  Pack it between bed sheets or towels for extra cushion.  Find out what  bunk cubbies or under the bed storage your camper is allowed to bring.  Make sure they are collapsible and durable, it’s best to utilize them when packing. For example, pack items inside of the bins such as smaller or personal items.   You could also add a packing list inside the duffle, this helps the counselors and your camper to know what was packed.
  • Don’t Forget. Take a deep breath and take a picture of your camper sitting on their duffel.  It’s officially the first photo of the camp season!

 

Life Skills: The Camp Way

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Sending your child off to sleepaway camp could be a hard decision to make. During your decision process, remember how important and healthy this milestone is for you and your child. Psychologists agree, Maureen Monaghan from Children’s National Medical Center, says “giving kids an experience of being on their own in a structured, supportive, supervised environment is a great idea.”

Having your child, and you, overcome fears is a life lesson that affects many more situations to come.  For example, being homesick for a few days and then realizing it goes away or working to climb the top of a rope wall that seemed super scary on the first day of camp.

We know there are so many questions you and your child might have.  Take a breath, read this amazing article from the Washington Post.  We can’t agree more!

Traditional Camp vs Speciality Camp

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Most overnight camps from the Poconos to Maine are what we call “traditional overnight camps”.  They offer an array of activities, old fashion camp traditions, and daily scheduled activities for 7 weeks.  Whether it’s a coed or single sex camp, a traditional bunk consists of 10-12 kids and the bonds of friendships are unbreakable. Most camps today understand the need kids have to practice their “activity” of choice.  For example, they will offer extra private tennis lessons, extra time on the baseball diamond, or more time spent in the gym getting that back tuck perfect.  Some camps will have professional coaching on staff or send the kids off camp to meet with speciality coaches.

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Speciality camps are perfect for the older child in high school who wants to make their high school team. They are also great for that child who really wants to focus on sharpening their skills in his or her sport. Most specialty camps are 2 weeks long and are located on a college campus or off-site location.  Typically there are no bunks, the children sleep in a door room with a roommate or two.

Both options are a fantastic way to spend a summer. Still unsure?  Give us a call, we can tell you about the many different camp options available and help answer any of your questions.

How Camps Give Back

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Camps give kids new experiences, friendships that last forever, and camp fires. But, have you ever thought how camps give back to the community?  We were pleasantly surprised to discover all of the ways they do!

Each August, Camp Manitou hosts the Experience Camps for Grieving Children. The week is for children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver.  Camp Manitou gives these kids a wonderful opportunity to just be a kid, bring their smile back, and make new friends.

Even when camp is over, Camp Manitou was still giving back. This past Fall they were involved in Manitou Fall Service Day Weekend. Campers and parents volunteered their time to revitalize gardens and dog play areas, cleaned local beaches, and ran a 5K  to benefit cancer and other research.

Many camps participate in The Camp Champions program which helps to send hundreds of children in need to camp every year!  Campers will participate in special events or races throughout the Summer to raise money to help kids experience camp.

Camps got involved with the social connection too!  Camp Vega created a special hashtag and every time a picture was shared using it they would donate $10 to the Dunk Your Kicks campaign, which helps support pediatric cancer research. This past year campers have volunteered at

Campers at many camps have also volunteered at Camp Sunshine or donated to The Tutu Project.

Camp gives so much more than just s’mores, lake time, and color war cheers.  Camp gives back!

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