Are you kids going on a camping trip? They won’t be exchanging promise rings just yet. Still, they might exchange silicone friendship bracelets to remind them of their time together away from home and to celebrate the friendship they created. This exchange of items symbolizing friendship is perhaps a staple occurrence amongst kids at American summer camp.
In 2017, more than 41.7 million kids took part in summer camps all across the country. For parents, sending kids to summer camps is not without apprehension. While camps are a supervised environment, parents will always worry about a million different things. They will also worry about the cost. Kids have their anxiety to deal with. So what are the preparations required for sending your kids to summer camp?
An Overview of Summer Camps in America
The history of summer camps can be traced back to Gunnery, Connecticut when Frederick W. Gunn started a recreational camp. The camp was meant to allow children to explore nature. When families moved to big cities, this connection with nature was lost. While parents labored in factories, children had nothing to do during months when there’s no school. Most families can’t take care of their children during these long breaks from schools. Kids also got bored doing nothing at home.
Fast forward to the early 20th century, and the number of summer camps grew to nearly 100. Camps are generally supervised events with designed programs meant to not only connect kids with nature, but it is also expected to impact personality and cultural knowledge.
Summer camps are perhaps as traditional as American pie. More than two months away from school could get boring for kids. Here are a few ways to prepare kids and yourself for summer camp:
- Different programs and cost. As a parent, you need to be aware that not all camps are the same. Depending on the program and the activities offered, the price also varies. The affordable ones can cost anywhere between $100 to upwards of $300 per week. Sleep-away camps, where your kids get round-the-clock supervision, could cost more than $750 per week on average. The high-end version of these camps involving computers, sports, and the performing arts will cost between $500 to $1,000 per week. Know how much you’re willing to spend.
- Know the schedule. Make a list of the different start dates of every camp you’ve shortlisted. Determine how that fits in your plan. Keep your kids focused on the start date of the camp so that they remain excited.
- Order in packing. Let your child know that he needs to be responsible for the things that he will need to take to the camp, from clothes to other personal belongings. Set a date with your kid when you will go through a checklist of all the things he/she needs to bring. This exercise teaches them about responsibility and something they can repeat when packing on their way home.
- Exchange items. It’s a good moment to teach them about what it means to start new friendships. A silicone friendship bracelet is an excellent item to bring to camp. Encourage them to take with them a couple to give to someone they could be potential friends with.
Sending your kids to camp might be an expensive activity. But the rewards for your kid will be priceless. Make sure that you and your kids are ready by taking notes of these ideas.