International Summer Camp in Canada

Table of Contents

  1. How to choose a camp?
  2. Is my child ready for camp?
  3. How to prepare a first time camper for camp?
  4. Do the owners have more than one camp?
  5. Is it a new camp?
  6. What are the natural surrounding of the camp like?
  7. Who do you hire as counselors?
  8. Is my child likely to have problems adapting to the camp because of being in a French-speaking environment?
  9. Is it likely that my child will constantly be in the company of other English-speaking children and therefore not improve in French at all?
  10. Are the sleeping quarters more like a college dorm, or cabins? Are showers in a different hut?
  11. Can a vegetarian come to the camp?
  12. Can a 9-year-old child come to the camp?
  13. Do boys and girls live together?
  14. Can I visit the camp?
  15. Are there activities for parents near the camp?
  16. Do the children go to church?

more questions

Is my child ready for camp?

Children are ready for new experiences at different stages. The following questions can help you gauge whether this summer is the summer your child will start camp.

  • What is your child's age?
    Children under age ten may not adjust easily to being away from home especially in a different cultural environment. Consider the day camp experience and a one-week stay at a local camp to prepare them for an international camp experience.
  • How did your child become interested in camp? Does your child talk about camp on a sustained basis? How much persuasion is necessary from you?
  • Has your child had positive overnight experiences away from home? Visiting relatives or friends? Were these separations easy or difficult?
  • What does your child expect to do at camp?
    Learning about the camp experience ahead of time allows you to create positive expectations.
  • Are you able to share consistent and positive messages about camp?
    Your confidence in a positive experience will be contagious.

How to prepare a first time camper for camp

Overnight sleepovers

Start to prepare your children for their first camping experience right away by planning overnight sleepovers, first with relatives, then with friends. Anything from a sleepover at a relative's house to actually going away for a weekend to a friend's house.

Building independence

Building independence at home is another important step. Do that by training your children to do basic daily tasks such as brushing their teeth, getting dressed, washing their hair, doing laundry and putting on sun screen and bug spray.

Especially with younger children, camp counselors will check to make sure campers apply bug spray and sun screen, but your child will feel more grownup and ready to be away if s/he can do it himself/herself.

It's important to train children to take responsibility for themselves for their own sake and not as a favour to Mom and Dad.

Social skills

One of the problems at camp can be a lack of social skills. In some cases, kids are homesick because they're not taught to be independent and do things on their own. They don't have any point of reference for being independent.

Another way to build independence and self-confidence is to have your child interact with adults he doesn't know in a safe environment. If you're grocery shopping together, send your child to a separate register (where you can see her) with money to pay for one item.

Pick the right camp

Picking the right camp in the first place helps ensure that camp is a positive experience. Just because your neighbor's athletic child enjoyed a camp doesn't mean your child will like the same type of camp. Your child may be low key, or more into the arts. Involving your child in the process of selecting the camp can help ease the anxiety. When kids have some control, they're empowered.

"I'll come to pick you up"

When you're getting ready to send your child to camp, don't try to reassure him/her by saying you'll come get him/her if s/he misses you too much. That's the worst thing you can say: when your child encounters an initial problem, the first reaction will be to ask to be picked up instead of finding a solution and growing up in the process.

Top Do's and Dont's for Preventing Homesickness

  1. Talk to your child about a time when you were homesick and what you did to get over it.

  2. In preparation for camp, send your child to stay with relatives overnight, then to a friend's place overnight.

  3. Teach your child to take a shower and wash properly; work on shampooing, teeth brushing; folding and putting clothes away ; and other daily tasks.

  4. Let your child help choose a camp where s/he will be comfortable.

  5. Start with a 2-week session - long enough for initial homesickness to wear off but not too long.

  6. Write an email to your child on the first day.

  7. Don't try to smuggle a cell phone into camp.

  8. Teach your child to share with others.

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