Page 37 - Alaska Parent Spring 2019
P. 37

 Choosing an Overnight Camp
- Maturity. Most kids are ready by ages 9 or 10, but consider your child's physical and emotional maturity first.
- Plan ahead. Check out websites, talk to friends and family for recommendations and visit prospective camps.
- Size of camp. Decide whether your child would do better in a large or small setting.
- Location. Because of their geographical location, some camps offer better outdoor or adventure activities than others and may be more likely to have access to experienced adventure specialists.
- Meet the director. A meeting will help you get a sense of his or her personality, trustworthiness and compatibility.
     How to embrace diversity
Children who go to camp meet other campers from all over the country. They meet kids from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
In a study conducted by Philliber Research Associates and the American Camp Association, 94 percent of campers said "Camp helped me get to know other campers who were different from me."
Tom says this is important for kids in the 21st Century. "Making new friends is an essential skill kids are going to need to have."
How to overcome fears
Going to camp takes kids out of their normal day-to-day setting and gives them a chance to try things they might not otherwise try at home. In the Philliber study, 74 percent of the kids surveyed said "At camp I did things I was afraid to do at first."
Children may feel more comfortable taking a risk around new acquaintances than they do under the watchful eye of parents, siblings or school peers. If they are trying an activity they have never tried before, they may feel encouraged by staff or counselors who are there to support and guide them.
How to become resilient
Camp life doesn't always go as planned, and kids learn to adapt and move with what's happening around them.
Camp goers also grow more resilient from trying again when they fail. "Part of growing up is learning that you are not always going to be successful. Sometimes campers fail and counselors help them try again," Tom says. "Camp is a safe place to make mistakes."
Going to overnight camp benefits kids in many ways. It provides a place where kids can get out of their daily setting and have new adventures, meet new people and learn new skills. And while they are doing all of those things, they will probably learn a few life lessons that will stay with them forever.
Don’t delay! Find a camp your child will enjoy by checking out our Summer Camps & Programs Directory on pages 38-46.
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