Sometimes, parents can get confused between a boy’s readiness to go to overnight summer camp and their own readiness to “let go”. It may sound surprising, but psychologists confirm that a parent who decides that their child is not ready for an overnight camp experience, is often the one who might not be ready to “let go”. Purely from a professional point of view, psychologists agree that most boys thrive with a two or three week camp experience – and that also applies to boys as young as grades two and three.
There was a time when parents actually looked forward to that classic “drop-off” day when the bus left for summer camp. It was a right of passage. Dropping off their son for summer camp meant having a few weeks for catching up, for some relaxation, and for some personal time. Today, with changing times, parents are often more protective, they are frequently more hesitant than their own son about going to summer camp. Truth is, every boy looks forward to the summer and a few weeks without parents only enhances it.
Child psychologists also agree that boys thrive and flourish at overnight summer camp. With good camp ideals, they become more confident, more independent, and even more liberated. At specialty camps, like those that focus on sports, campers will develop in even more meaningful ways; health and fitness. There is little doubt that summer camp is the ideal environment for personal growth.
Preparing in advance for summer camp does as much for the parents as it does for their son. First timers will naturally have a unique experience, especially during the initial phase of choosing the right summer camp. But by working closely with their son, parents can share the excitement and enthusiasm that he generates. First time parents should be conscious of preparing a child in advance for the overnight experience, participate in a few sleepovers, go camping or introduce your son to a current camper around his age with similar interests. Go online and check out the camps photo pages to get an honest feel for the camp.
With every boy, it’s important for parents to instill positivity when preparing for camp, and especially just prior to leaving for camp. Here again, it’s an atmosphere that will benefit parents as much as their son. Camp experts advise parents to infuse optimism and enthusiasm while planning and preparing for overnight camp. In fact, this type of approach is very reinforcing, as parents work together with their son. It’s as much about parents getting ready, as it is about the camper.
For campers who are veterans of overnight summer camp, there may still be some bittersweet moments – but these are soon overcome by reminiscing the stories and memories of a previous summer away from home. The thing is, it’s quite natural on “drop off” day for everyone to be a little bit tearful. However, a camper will never forget his wonderful camp adventure. And for a parent, their son’s joy is confirmation that it was the right decision.
For parents who are questioning whether their son is ready for summer camp, it may time to ask am I ready?
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