Yes, you read the title right. While varying degrees of homesickness and possible scrapes and bruises have been common to all campers since summer camp was invented in the 1880’s (seriously, these things are documented from over 100 years ago), sometimes camp is more difficult for parents! The decision to let your child go away for a week is a big one. After all, you are putting us in charge of your most valuable possession(s).
Here are seven tips we’ve found from 50 years of summer camping.
1. Pick the right camp.
Of course we want your child to camp at Camp Lor-Ray. But there are practical considerations when picking a camp: What is the program like? What values does the camp have? What values does the camp expect children to have – in regards to other campers, the staff, etc.? Each camp has its own method of constructing programs based on its philosophy. Does it complement a Biblical-Christian philosophy? These are huge factors that can affect how comfortable a child is at camp, or how the staff react to campers’ needs and encourage them. Studies show that summer camp is a major factor in instilling values in children, just behind school. What do you want your child to come away with at camp?
At Camp Lor-Ray, you can be sure that the values we hold to and our philosophy of camping reflects Biblical values and a Christian philosophy. We understand that all of our campers (and staff) are sinners and that problems will arise, but because of Jesus, they are saints also. We encourage forgiveness, not simply brushing off of problems.
2. Register Early
Registering early saves you money. We offer a $25 discount if you register your child before April 15. But registering early also helps us to plan how many campers are coming, what types of needs campers have, and so on. Overall the program will run more smoothly the earlier you register. You’ll also have one less thing to worry about in late Spring/early Summer.
3. Bring a Friend to Camp
Bringing a friend to camp is an easy way to know that your child will have someone they know and trust there with them. We acknowledge cabin/bunk requests, and you can tell us right on the reservation form whom you would like your child to room with. Bringing a friend who has never been to camp is also an easy way to save another $25.
4. Camp with Your Youngest Children
If you have a child or children in preschool or Kindergarten, you can introduce them to Camp Lor-Ray yourself. Camp Lor-Ray offers a unique program for Pre-K campers, where a parent joins their child for a short two-night camp specifically for young children. We offer age appropriate games, crafts, songs, and food. Not only does this give your children a non-intimidating introduction to camp, you get to see how the Camp Lor-Ray program is first hand.
5. Look over the Camping Handbook with your camper.
I remember my parents giving me the camper handbook a few months before they sent me to camp. Seeing the map, activities, and to-bring list was really exciting to a 5th grader. You can help make camp a better experience for them also by explaining some parts of the handbook, such as some of our rules, our daily schedule, and so on. By encouraging your child to follow directions, you make camp a safer and more enjoyable experience not only for your child, but for everyone. Download the 2015 handbook here.
6. Write to your child & Send a Return Envelope
Sometimes this gets overlooked. Many of our campers get letters throughout the week (we even have a special mail bucket for incoming and outgoing mail). Kids love getting mail, and they’ll be excited to hear from home after an eternity at camp. Likewise, if you send an envelope, we give them time to write letters home. This might be more beneficial for you than for them 🙂
Be sure to plan ahead though, since mail can sometimes take a few days to arrive. If you do forget, a few of our key staff have access to email during the week, so feel free to send an email note (just make sure to tell us who it is for).
7. Pray for a good, fun, Christ-centered week at Kids’ Camp
This is good for many reasons. Be sure to pray with your kids before camp, pray for them during camp, and pray with them after camp. Maybe as they are getting out of the car, instead of saying “Hope you have a good week,” pray with them and ask God to give them a good week and be with them. This will start them out with a more positive outlook on camp and it will help you as well.
We look forward to seeing your child(ren) at Camp Lor-Ray this summer!
Be sure to contact us if you have any questions.