School is out and the summer is quickly approaching. As a kid, this was my favorite time of the year because in a few weeks I would be off to summer camp. I was always excited about summer camp because it was a time to make new friends while participating in my favorite outdoor activities. Going to sleep away camp gave me a sense of independence and allowed me to learn and make decisions on my own. What classes did I want to take? What activities did I want to participate in? This was something I had to decide on my own without my parents input.
4-H summer camp is the perfect opportunity to learn, make friends, disconnect from electronics, and enjoy the outdoors! Camp Cherry Lake and Camp Timpoochee give youth the opportunity to learn while having fun in a safe environment.
Preparing for camp can be physical and mental, not only on the camper, but on the parent as well. It is completely normal to be nervous before a week of sleep away camp. One of the biggest issues campers deal with is homesickness. There will be many trained adults and teen counselors who will be around the entire week of camp that will make sure that the campers are learning and having a great time, but here are some proactive things you can do with your child in preparation for camp:
- Have a sleepover at a relative’s house for the weekend.
- When physically packing, make sure your camper is involved. This can help prevent homesickness as well as making them aware of what they have with them. When packing for camp, make a list so that nothing is forgotten.
- Try avoid making deals with your child (If you are homesick, I will come pick you up early).
- The American Camping Association has some great online reources for preventing homesickness.
For more information about 4-H summer camp opportunities for youth and teen and adult volunteers, contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office.
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