Camps across the United States are gearing up for their spring break camps. Spring sessions offer children a great alternative to a week at the babysitters. A mix of outdoor activities, new friends, and healthy personal growth accompany most camp experiences. Spring camps also provide parents who are unsure if their child is ready for sleep-away camp a great opportunity to try out camp. One week spring break camps are perfect opportunities for first time and young campers. They provide the same fun and excitement of the larger summer camp sessions in a smaller setting. Parents and campers experience the separation of camp in a more manageable time block. Most spring break camps also operate with a smaller number of campers. This in turn helps first time and younger campers navigate the camp and activities easier. These factors combine to help campers have a successful sleep-away camp experience. It sets the stage for a longer and more full summer session. Campers can approach the summer already knowing the staff, schedule of the day, and the ability to meet up with friends from their spring break. Parents will also have a better understanding of how their child will handle the camp setting.
Spring break and summer camps come in many types and sizes. Picking the right one can be a daunting task. What are the goals and mission of the camp? How are medical situations handled? Picking the right one can be a daunting task. Parents should ensure the camp they choose meets their standards. Ask to speak with the camp director or assistant camp director. A camp director should be able to answer questions easily and confidently. Taking a tour of the camp is a great way to see the facilities and get a feel for the staff. Great Questions to ask:What is the mission or goals of the camp? How long has the camp been in operation? What type of individuals are hired as camp counselors? How do the activities operate?How are medical situation handled?What is the camp menu?What are the sleeping arrangements? This by no means is a full list. It is a great starting point to form more detailed questions. Gaining a better understanding of any camp will help a parent to make the right choice for their family. A parent should be fully satisfied with all answers before choosing their camp.
Preparing a camper for a sleep-away experience, such as spring break camp, is just as important as the experience itself. Every child will have some level of apprehension about going to camp. When discussing camp, focus on the positive aspects of the experience. Parents should avoid conversations about how much they will miss their camper. Those conversations can result in homesickness later. Instead, parents who share with campers how proud they are of their child attending camp have better success. This is not to say to totally refrain from telling children they will be missed, just that messages on the positive are better in the long run. The camper must hear from parents how important this experience will be for them. More important that this will be a fun experience that as a parent we support. Furthermore, take the time to show the camper the camp facility, the camp website or pictures of camp. This helps to prepare them. If possible, schedule a tour at the camp. The ability to visit the camp and meet staff in advance always helps campers. Continue to have conversations leading up to the start of camp. Answer camper questions and when needed reach out to the camp director for assistance.
Spring break camp, summer camp, and for that matter any outdoor camp, provide children great and positive experiences. Taking the steps toward spring break camp will open the door to many other camp opportunities in the future. Ben Moss is the Camp Director at Circle F Dude Ranch Camp. He has over 20 years of youth development experience working in youth programing and summer camps.