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Is Your Child Ready For Camp?

Camp season is upon us & to help you help your kiddos get ready, we’ve lined up some guest posts by LeAnne from Inter-Varsity Camps! Be sure to join us on our Facebook Fan Page for a live chat with Camp Exert, LeAnne on Tuesday, June 12 from 10-11am EST. Post your camp questions on our wall & LeAnne will have an answer for you! 

How do I choose a summer camp for my children?  Summer camp is most easily divided these days into day camps and residential (overnight) camps.  In both categories, there’s a camp for just about everything you can think of … sports, music, art, computers, sailing, biking.  There are faith-based camps, water-oriented camps, single sex or co-ed camps, out-tripping camps, horse camps, family camps, and camps for children with things like autism or diabetes or cancer.

Summer Camp is a great place for kids to have new experiences, try new activities, and make new friends.  They develop new skills, and build self-confidence, independence and problem solving skills.

If your kids have never been away from home, a day camp is a good place to start, maybe even just a half day, say for a morning.  Ask your mommy-friends for a recommendation:  reputation is important!  And maybe it’s obvious, but try to choose one that has activities your child likes.

Consider inviting one of their friends to go along – that often makes it more fun for your child, and they have someone to talk with about it when they return.  It also makes it easier when you leave them for the morning or the day or the week.  Check out the age of the staff, the camper:staff ratio, what sort of application process is in place and the training the staff are given before they are given any responsibilities with kids.  Ask about general care (hats & sunscreen), safety procedures, camp rules, and what sort of problem it would take for the staff to call you.  Get a sense of the flow of the day so you can prepare your child to know what to expect.

For a residential camp, most kids are usually ready between the ages of 8 and 10.  It’s helpful if they’ve stayed overnight at a friend’s place or grandparents beforehand.  If they’ve attended a day camp or two, or you’ve gone to camp as a family, they might be ready a year or two earlier.  I’ve found that if a young child – say 6-7 – has an older sibling who’s already been to camp and is going back, the younger child may be ready at that earlier age.  Your child doesn’t need to be extroverted to enjoy camp, but being comfortable meeting new people sure helps.  And again, taking a friend along the first time can help smooth the way.

In choosing a residential camp, be sure you ask all the same questions above, and in addition, you probably want to ask about meals, bedtime routines and accommodations.  You may want to tour the camp in advance – many camps welcome that.  You may want to educate your child on the difference between clean clothes and clothes that have been worn… and perhaps stating the obvious… you might want to avoid white T-shirts if you have boys!  Beyond that, most camps will give you lots of instructions about what to bring and what to leave at home.  Reading those will either answer or prompt further questions.

Finally, my bias.  Look for a camp with longevity, one with staying power.  In this economy, it tells you they’re doing something right.  Inter-Varsity’s Pioneer Camps have been around for over 80 years.  Located in BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, they run 1 and 2 weeks programs for kids aged 5-18.  Want to give your child the experience of a life time, maybe a technology-free week filled with adventure, activities, faith and new friends?  This year they’re offering a 20% discount on fees for first time campers.  Check them out at http://www.pioneercampcontest.com?blog= or get more information at www.pioneercamp.com.  You’ll be glad you did.

About the Author:

LeAnne is married and is the proud mom of 2 boys, aged 6 and 8.  Both boys are quickly becoming veteran campers as LeAnne works as VP Camping for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship.  In this role she is responsible for leading the work of 9 Christian camps across Canada – 4Pioneer Camps and 5 Circle Square Ranches.  When she’s not working, LeAnne loves hanging out with her husband and her boys, bike riding, playing Wii, and making music together.

Is Your Child Getting Too Much Technology?

Camp season is upon us & to help you help your kiddos get ready, we’ve lined up some guest posts by LeAnne from Inter-Varsity Camps! Enjoy & post any questions you have for LeAnne in the comments! 

As a mom of 2 boys, I talk to lots of other parents these days.  And without exception, the common concern is the amount of technology their child is exposed to – that, and a growing unwillingness to be separated from technology.  This seems to be especially true for parents whose children have a cell or smart phone.

How much technology is too much?  How much screen time is appropriate at what age?  Should we be concerned about how pervasive technology is becoming?  Or should we fully embrace it, no holds barred?

I’m no expert on this but I did hear an expert speak recently on the way significant amounts of technology stimulation (TV, computers, gaming, phones, iPads) result in a higher baseline of “needed” stimulation.  I see it in my own kids who, though still young, feed on the stimulation they get through screen time – multiple frame changes, lots of changing images and instant gratification – and they seem ever hungry for more.

In this context I’m becoming more intentional about the activities – both ordinary and extra-curricular – that I steer my kids towards.  They’re spending too much time on their butts, and not getting enough physical activity or face-to-face time with real people.  For this reason, I’m particularly excited about the two weeks my sons will spend at Pioneer Camp this summer.  No computer, iPad or Wii.  Instead, lots of good fun, outside activities, new friendships, amazing, caring leaders, all in a safe, healthy environment.

Want to give your child a technology-free week?  How about a place where caring young adults spend time playing with them, talking with them, running, playing sports, singing, laughing with them, teaching them skills and fostering their holistic development, with no access to screen time or technology.  A place where social interaction isn’t navigated through texting or Facebook.  Where the focus is fun, faith, activity, skills and relationship!

Interested?  Go to http://www.pioneercampcontest.com?blog= where you will get a 20% off coupon for Pioneer Camp if you’re a first time camper just for entering our summer getaway contest.

Pat yourself on the back for giving your kids a technology-free week of fun.  And celebrate them not sitting on their butts much for a whole week!

About the Author:

LeAnne is married and is the proud mom of 2 boys, aged 6 and 8.  Both boys are quickly becoming veteran campers as LeAnne works as VP Camping for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship.  In this role she is responsible for leading the work of 9 Christian camps across Canada – 4Pioneer Camps and 5 Circle Square Ranches.  When she’s not working, LeAnne loves hanging out with her husband and her boys, bike riding, playing Wii, and making music together.

What about your Child’s Development?

Camp season is upon us & to help you help your kiddos get ready, we’ve lined up some guest posts by LeAnne from Inter-Varsity Camps! Enjoy & post any questions you have for LeAnne in the comments! 

 

If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for what’s next in your child’s development.  I want my kids to grow up to be responsible, well-rounded, considerate contributors to the betterment of our world.  And because of that, I’m kind of on yellow alert to make sure I don’t miss an important piece in their development.

For me, one of those critical components is a camp experience.  Why camp?  Because camp provides kids with an opportunity to build independence and self-confidence, make new friends, and improve their attitude towards physical activity, among other things.   How do I know?  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  I’ve watched shy kids slowly let caring camp staff into their lives, smiled as a camper tries an activity or sport for the first time, and seen the joy on their faces as they hug a new camp friend they hardly knew a week earlier.  If you’re curious, check out some research that came out at the end of last year from the University of Waterloo.  Dubbed “The Canadian Summer Camp Research Project,” this Canadian, 5-year study of the impact of camp on children provides proof of the positive impact of the camp experience on campers.  Researchers explored the outcomes of the Canadian summer camping experience.  Campers’ behaviours, attitudes & values were observed by their leaders at the beginning & end of camp, and with those observations, researchers looked for changes.  Among the findings:

  • New friendships are developed, often with people different from themselves;
  • Positive approaches to resolving personal conflicts;
  • Improved attitudes towards physical activity (a worthy outcome, given childhood obesity rates, sedentary lifestyles and obsession with technology);
  • Growth in self-confidence & independence.

If you haven’t yet completed your summer planning, consider a camp experience.  Fill in a critical piece in your kids’ development.  You might want to check out a contest offering 20% off a week at camp for new campers at: www.pioneercampcontest.com?blog=

 

About the Author:

LeAnne is married and is the proud mom of 2 boys, aged 6 and 8.  Both boys are quickly becoming veteran campers as LeAnne works as VP Camping for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship.  In this role she is responsible for leading the work of 9 Christian camps across Canada – 4 Pioneer Camps and 5 Circle Square Ranches.  When she’s not working, LeAnne loves hanging out with her husband and her boys, bike riding, playing Wii, and making music together.

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