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Attending Camp with Friends

One of the many reasons behind sending children to summer camp is the opportunity to reach out and create new friendships. Does it mean sending a child to a camp which is also being attended by one (or more) of the child’s current friends should be discouraged? Absolutely not!

Added Advantage

Social interaction definitely comes easier for some children. A child attending a camp with a friend will already start the new journey with less stress. There is no doubt children get past the initial stage fright of making new acquaintances, but having a friend at the same camp  can actually make it easier for social interaction with other children.

Make New Friends

When parents agree to send a child along with a friend to camp, they should approach it in a proactive manner. Let the child know it is great to have a buddy along for the camp experience, but also instill an additional mindset – one which lets the child know it is perfectly acceptable to reach out to new children socially and discover new friendships. The parents of all your child’s friends going to camp should get together and talk about this as well. This prevents an instance of one friend having thoughts of abandonment when the other child makes new friends during camp. It allows all parents to reinforce the idea of making the most out of new friendship opportunities.

Keep the Old

Even though parents may have addressed the issue of a friend making new friends at camp, take the opportunity to make your child be aware of what to do if the ‘old’ friend feels left out. Many children would already have the presence of mind to include an old friend in an unscheduled activity, but it is always best to have parents mention this to their children. Most camps are monitored in a way where exclusion is noticed by a counselor or coach, but not everything is always noticed.

Enjoy the Camp

Depending on the camp, friends may automatically be separated in activities for various reasons. For instance, two friends attending a baseball camp may be assigned different stations or drills due to playing different positions, or by skill level of each child. Explain to children that this is to be expected and how the friends can meet up again at lunch or at another time during the camp day.

With a bit of careful pre-planning by the parents, the children attending camps with one or more friends will have the satisfaction of knowing others from the start, and parents will see such desired goals as decision making, peer social interaction and a sense of fulfillment achieved through the camp experience.

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Benefits of Attending a Day Camp

Getting into the sports camp scene may seem to be a daunting task upon first glance. A parent wants a child’s camp to be a positive experience for the child (as well as for the parents). No matter the age group, the day camp alternative can be an excellent choice.

Weighing the Advantages

Enjoying the Experience (with limits)

A great reason to choose the day camp option, is the fact the child returns home in the evening. The opportunity to have your children step out of their normal routine of familiar surroundings and friends is provided without the uneasiness of the children having to sleep in a room with others they have just met. The anxiety levels for young athletes will already increase, given the fact they are going to be competing among strangers (at least until the new acquaintances become new friends). Not having to continually impress their new companions in the off-hours of camp allows for a reduction of those anxiety levels by the time the day campers reach their homes.

For the older participants (ages 12+), the day camp experience has the added attraction of being home in time to make arrangements for evening gatherings with friends from school or the neighborhood. Parents with children in this age range should pay particular attention to make sure the camp chosen caters to a broad spectrum of age ranges and skill levels. Camps offering topnotch coaching and advanced training methods are an important criteria for teens to consider.

New Learning with New Friends

Everyone needs to see change as a positive! A main reason for attending an athletic-based camp is to learn new skills. The fundamentals in sports rarely change, but different coaches teach those fundamentals in their own ways. Campers are going to be in a new and different atmosphere, an atmosphere of learning. They will be next to other campers there for the same reason. It creates an opportunity to share the new experiences and creates a natural ‘bonding’ forming new friendships between campers

Throwing Away the Safety Net

Figuratively, of course. Introductions of new ideas, renewed fundamentals – all among new friends – invigorates the athletic senses. It creates the opportunity for a child to go the extra step, to become a bit more of a risk taker. This lends to accelerating the learning process while also bringing a newfound enjoyment for the camp athletes.

Advantages for Parents

Allowing Children to ‘Spread their Wings’– without entirely losing control.

Specialty day camps allow campers to discover themselves on and off the field, in a surrounding they are familiar with. Your camper will have the freedom to explore and end their days dreaming of the goals they scored, baskets made or aces served against other campers they may see during their regular season. Nothing beats seeing the smile on your campers face after a fun-filled day of camp!

Less Worries and Concerns

The hours of day camp may alleviate a lot of the hustle and clock-watching parents must endure. At least for a few days, parents do not have to be a summer fun guide, scheduling events to occupy a child’s day. A daily drop off and pick up may provide a bit of stress reduction for parents.

New Conversation at the Dinner Table

A new daily experience for a child creates additional questions for parents to ask. The interaction can be both verbal and physical. Let the child explain and demonstrate what was learned at camp. This will also allow parents to see the child’s level of interest for the camp and can assist in determining if additional camp attendance is welcomed by the child.