“While at the playground, Brandon’s camp counselors had a difficult time getting him to go down the slide. Although the counselors encouraged his participation, Brandon would never climb to the top with the others campers. Both the counselors and child were frustrated, which created a stressful summer experience for all involved. If only the counselors knew before camp started that Brandon was afraid of heights!”
The above scenario could have been avoided if the camp staff was prepared with knowledge about Brandon’s acrophobia PRIOR to the start of camp! Providing your camp with personal information helps counselors better adjust to your child’s needs and therefore provide a successful camp experience. Keep in mind the following questions when submitting information to camp staff:
• Is your child on any medication DURING the summer months or is winter medication being discontinued during the summer?
• Does your child have any food allergies, dietary requirements, or seasonal allergies?
• Are daily medications given at home prior to the camp day or does the counselor need to bring the child to the Health Center at a specific time?
• Does your child have any learning difficulties in or out of school?
• Have there been any drastic changes in the immediate family?
• Any changes in home address within the last 6 months?
• Who takes care of child if both parents work? Where?
• What are child’s special interests/hobbies?
• Has child had previous camp experience? Are there any friends coming to camp?
• Does child separate from parent easily?
• Does child get along with other children?
• Does your child transition from activity to activity easily?
• Does child have any fears?
• What behavior do you consider most difficult to deal with?
• What makes your child frustrated or upset?
Sending a child to camp, whether it’s a day camp or sleepaway camp or whether it’s their first year or a returning year, can be stressful and at the same time an exciting journey for both the camper and parent. By providing the staff with as much information about your child before the first day of camp, it will ensure a successful, happy and beneficial experience for all.
Rhonda Goodman is co-owner/director of Rolling River Day Camp in East Rockaway/Oceanside, N.Y. Rhonda, along with her husband, Mark will be celebrating 19 years “down by the riva”. Their three children, Marissa, Ali, & Jon, all work full or part-time at the camp. Rhonda can be reached at Rhonda@rollingriver.com or www.rollingriver.com.