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First Time at Sleepaway Summer Camp? We’re the Best Summer Camp for First Time Campers!

First Time Campers

The entire Circle F Dude Ranch Camp team is excited that you and your camper are becoming part of our camp family.

We know that you probably have many questions, which is normal. We want you to know that our entire team is here to help make your camper’s summer a positive experience. If you find we have not answered your questions, please give us a call at (863) 676-4113.

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How do I get my child ready for the camp experience?

BE POSITIVE! The experience begins at home with you. Let your child know how excited you are for them and their new experience. Help your child understand the time period that they will be at camp. Telling a camper they may come home is instilling the idea that commitments can be broken. We know you want your child to succeed in whatever they try. Your child should be ready and willing to accept his or her stay at camp with trust, a willingness to change, grow, and become more independent. If you are unsure if your child is ready for camp we encourage you to listen to our podcast on this topic.

Circle F Podcast

How do I deal with my child missing home? “Homesickness”

Yes, some children do miss home and it is perfectly normal. You have been their wonderful providers and this is a completely new environment for them. We are very in tune with watching for and caring for those who miss home. We acknowledge their feelings and are sympathetic, but we do not encourage it. Helping your child adjust is a team effort at Circle F. It has been our experience that campers want to tell their parents much more about the difficult aspects of their new camp life rather than their new friends and adventures. Please realize that to campers you are their confidant, which is a wonderful thing. Your child wants someone to know how hard it all is. To us, they want to appear brave and may not confide any negative feelings, which again, is perfectly normal. They cannot see their own growth, but we can, and are always willing to share with you. Last but not least, they truly miss you and worry that you are not okay without them. It is so important in your correspondence with your child to stay positive!

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How Do I deal with Missing My Child? “Kidsickness”

“Kidsickness” refers to the emotions some parents feel when they experience their first long separation from their child, which often is a stay at a traditional summer camp. Some parents adjust easily to having their child away, while others struggle with sadness and anxiety while their child is at camp.

Overcoming “Kidsickness”

Here are a few helpful tips for first-time camp parents to help fight off “kidsickness”.

Keep In Touch

The Ranch offers multiple ways to communicate with your camper during the summer. In addition as a first-time family, you should feel comfortable emailing, texting, or calling a camp director at any time to receive a full update.

Stay Busy

When we work with homesick campers, one of our main goals is to keep the kids busy. It helps to keep their mind off of home. The same rules apply to our families at home. Make sure to schedule some activities for yourself while your child is at camp. Go hiking, see a movie, explore a new place, or go out to dinner. Keeping your mind occupied will help.

Remember the Benefits

Camp creates experiences that provide a camper with powerful lessons in self-development, independence, skill development, friendship, and healthy living.

Why did you decide to send your child to camp in the first place? Keep in mind the many benefits your child will gain from the experience. This will help make the separation easier and remind you of the gift you are giving your child.

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What will Cabin life be like?

We work hard to make sure new campers are integrated into our cabin groups. This means that the cabins have a mix of new and returning campers of similar ages. Learn more about our approach to Cabin Life.

Meal Times

Food is an important part of the camp experience. Counselor’s sit with campers during all meals to help make sure it’s a smooth prococess. You will have an opportunity to speak with your camper’s counselor on opening day. It is a good time to share any information you want to have them watch out for during meals.

Learn more about our Farm to Table food initiative.

Next Up

Cabin Life