Posts Tagged: camp

Sleepaway camp: The best way to decide if your kids are ready.

Photo taken by jvlphoto.com

I’m no stranger to sending kids to sleep away camp. My “biggie” kids have been going for several years  and the benefits are countless.

This year, I have a new crop of kids who are great ages for sleep away camp, so for the first time in a few years, I found myself revisiting the age old question of “ARE THEY READY?” Of course, I’m not sure I’m ready, but as a wise Camp Director once told me, “Sorry Julie, this isn’t about YOU!”  Fine thing.

After setting my personal anxieties aside, I looked at my two little darlings and asked myself the following:

Do they want to go to camp?  If they want to go, it’s a pretty good indication that they’re ready. Of course, kids can be indecisive – one minute they want to go and another minute they don’t. When they say they don’t want to go, it’s likely that they’re worried about homesickness. So, I remind my kids that it’s completely normal and they likely will be homesick at some point. But it usually passes and doesn’t interfere with the overall camp experience. Besides, camp staff are trained to deal with this issue. A homesick kid is the biggest and most common issue they deal with.

As the parent, our job is to consider how severe the homesickness will be. So when trying to determine whether they’re ready or not, you can ask yourself these questions:

  • When at home, does your kid stay in their own bed every night? If you wake up every morning having discovered a little visitor migrated into your bed during the night, the kiddo might not quite be ready
  • Does your child feel comfortable having a sleepover with extended family or close friends? If they’d rather be glued to you than have a fun sleepover at Grandma’s house, this could be a sign that the kiddo is not ready for camp
  • Can you get a little friend to go too?  My kids like going to camp with siblings, but kids are put in cabins according to age so siblings don’t usually get to stay together. A familiar friend from home or school can sometimes help a kiddo feel more comfortable.
  • Have your kiddos had the chance to see camp for themselves?  My two kids that are up for camp consideration this summer have been able to visit their siblings at camp, which has familiarized them with the camp setting. This can be helpful.

 

After putting kids #4 and #5 through this little test, these were the results:

Photo taken by jvlphoto.com

YES, this kid is ready camp! She’s signed up and ready to go!

Photo taken by jvlphoto.com

Sorry buddy, maybe next year!

How do you decide if your little ones are ready for this experience? Do you have anyone heading off to sleep-away camp this season?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

 

My Son’s Camper Achievement Award

My 12 year-old son is in his element when he’s at camp. Running around, getting muddy, hiking, swimming, skipping stones and catching frogs with a bunch of kids is pretty much a dream come true for him.

He always comes home with stories about the adventures they’ve had and new camp songs he’s learned. His arms are covered with dozens of friendship bracelets. Apparently, the rule is that the bracelets have to fall off naturally, and you can’t TAKE them off no matter how dull and tattered the once brightly coloured bracelets become.

The first year he went to camp, he’d never been away from home for a two-week stretch before. His big sisters were there so I knew they’d help him out if he got homesick. I also knew that they’d probably keep an eye out for any of his lost belongings.

Last year, he went solo, which made labeling all the more important. We went with the Limited Edition Camp Combo clothing labels for kids and had him choose the icon. We played a game by laying out all his clothes into piles, labeling them and taking pictures (Okay, it was mostly a game for me!) Clothes and hats were labeled with Tag Mates (my favourite!) and Skinny Minis were on all his toiletries. The beach towels got labeled (Tag Mates on the care tags), flashlight and water bottle got Sticky Labels, running shoes got Shoe Labels and his duffle bag and guitar case got the metal Bag Tags.

At the end of each camp session, funny, personalized camp awards for kids are given to each camper to recognize one of his or her most well known achievements. When we picked Eric up at the bus stop last year, he came down the steps of the bus, beaming with pride as he displayed his special award. It was the “Most Items in the Lost and Found” award!

When we got home, I dug all the sandy clothes out of the duffle bag and threw them directly into the washing machine. Fresh from the dryer, we laid them all out and compared them to the “before camp” photo.  And you know what? Almost everything made it back home. I think we were missing one water shoe and a t-shirt.

Without Mabel’s Labels’ camp clothing labels, I doubt Eric would have been reunited with his stuff and he would have missed out on winning that cherished award. Pretty soon he’ll be heading back to camp on that bus, everything labeled, and totally prepared to defend his title!

Have you got your Limited Edition Camp Combo yet? Hurry! It’s available until June 30th!

 

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

- See more at: http://blog.mabelslabels.com/index.php/2014/05/page/2/#sthash.Dz5uGm1E.dpuf

The gift that keeps on giving

This guest blog post comes from Kim Graydon of Glen Bernard Camp.

As a parent, wouldn’t you just love to find that ONE gift for your child they would continue to love their whole life through?  Ready?  It IS out there….it is the gift of summer camp.   But what exactly are the benefits of summer camp for kids? What are you giving your son or daughter by investing in the gift of camp?  You are buying them fun, adventure, outdoor skills, an extended slumber party, freedom and acceptance to dress up in crazy wigs and clothes, a break from their technology and more!   As someone who went to camp from the age of 7 through to 20, here is what I know my mother bought me (and now what I am giving my children).

I was given life skills.  She gifted me the exposure to finding out I was resilient. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  I’m one of those people. I can thank her for giving me the skills and knowledge to find my way out of a forest using a compass.  This is still a relevant skill despite what our children say!!  I am proud to have been given the network of women I am a part of today.  I can call on any of my “summer sisters” for advice, support or potential job prospects.  It is like a club but you don’t have to pretend to be something you aren’t. PHEW!  Kudos to her for teaching me that my behaviour CAN impact the life of a child.  I learned at the age of 16 that I was a role model and part of a team.

Your gift of camp will teach your child that she/he matters to people in addition to their family.  They will learn to belong to a group that feels like family.  Your investment will equip them with skills that will not only help them, but that will be used to give back to others as they go through life.  You will ensure that your child begins to learn conflict resolution in a safe, supportive environment.  Your gift will bring a lifetime of happiness and fond memories.  Isn’t that amazing?  Imagine if you gave your child a toy that brought them happiness for decades?  There would be a crazy rush during the holidays to get our hands on that one, elusive gift.

There are so many different types of camps to choose from.  Start investigating!  Talk to other Moms, go online, get referrals or book a tour of a camp you are interested in.  Some camps will even come to your house and visit with you and your potential camper!  Camp is a lifelong learning adventure.  Take the plunge!

 

About the Author:

Kim Graydon is the Associate Director of Development at Glen Bernard Camp in Hunstville, Ontario.

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