Camp Touring: The Poconos

unnamed-2We had a great trip to the Poconos last week.  It was only the third day of camp but they were already in full swing! The returning campers were so happy to be back at their summer home and the new campers were adjusting quickly.  Of course there are always a few sitting with a counselor or division leader if they were having a hard time.  It’s nice to see them talking and helping the camper through the initial homesickness.

unnamed-5Have you heard of Kan Jam?  We kept seeing it everywhere we went.  It’s a popular new game for rest hour where the kids have to throw a Frisbee through a slot in a circular can.  Not exactly sure what the rules are but the campers seem to love it.  Another huge trend is cooking studios- even at boys’ camps!  And fitness is huge with the older campers.  Zumba, yoga, water aerobics, full gyms.  Love seeing everyone staying so healthy.  Organic gardening- kids growing and eating their own food- amazing.

unnamed-4Next stop for this summer is the beautiful Adirondacks in NY.  Can’t wait to get there, will report back on what is new and hot in the camping world!

What your child will NOT do at camp!

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The kids are off and you’re on this emotional roller coaster.  Your excited they will create summer memories, your worried if they will eat enough, and you are a bit sad because you miss them.  Summer camp is one of the best experiences your child can have, it teaches them to be more independent, confident, as well as making friendships that last a lifetime.  But, let’s get a bit honest on what they will NOT do at camp. A camp mom shares her honest experiences with us, HERE.

TOP THINGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN VISITING CAMPS

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Congratulations! You’ve survived the months of May and June (sports every night, endless school functions, birthday parties, etc.).  You are on a break from making lunches and helping with homework and your kids are happily tucked away at day camp.  You are ready for your summer of VISITING OVERNIGHT CAMPS!!  By now you’ve seen the videos and you’ve chosen a few to tour.  Here are the 5 most important things to consider while you’re at camp:

OWNERS:

I can’t talk about this enough.  For some reason people tend to overlook the importance of the owners/directors of camp.  These are the people that are taking care of your kids for 7 weeks!   You should trust them and their judgment.  You should feel a connection with them and so should your child.  When they are taking you on the tour pay attention to how the current campers interact with them.  Does it seem like the owner knows every camper’s name or is he pulling the old, ‘hey buddy’ when one of the kids runs up to the golf cart to say hi?

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FACILITIES:

There’s two schools of thought on this one.  Some parents are adamant that camp should be camp.  Rustic.  No bells and whistles, just like they roughed it at their camp 30 years ago.  Some parents figure if they are spending so much money they should be getting beautiful facilities.  Neither is wrong or right.  It’s just a preference.  You do want to check out the conditions of the bunks, dining hall, and other areas around the camp just to make sure they’re clean and safe.large_0fa5ea0f04

STAFF:

I love it when I’m touring camps and I get introduced to a staff member who has been there for 25 years.  Whether it be the chef, the arts and crafts lady or someone on the maintenance staff.  They’re always the most beloved by the campers and owners.  Their love for their summer home shines through when you meet them, it’s the best thing to see.

Although it’s hard to really get a feel for the counselors when you’re on a 2 hour tour,  you can notice where they’re from, how old they are and things like that. They should always be friendly and introduce themselves to visitors.  Ask the owner how many staff members return year after year, how many have left during the summer and why.  Firing counselors is not an indication that something is wrong at camp, it’s actually the opposite.  If a counselor has done something that warrants dismissal you don’t want them being given second chances.

Ok, you are ready to go.  Comfy shoes (sneakers, no flip flops), sunscreen and lots of coffee. (You will be tired.) Remember, don’t stress, this is supposed to be FUN!

Happy Camping!