Your attitude toward the camping experience is equally as important as what the experiences at the camp itself might be.
Be sure that you are ready to have your child leave home, that you trust him/her to be on his/her own, that you are not fearful of the risks and possible mishaps connected with camping.
Talk about camping as a happy adventure - be positive at all times. Do not discuss "homesickness" and caution well-meaning friends and relatives to avoid the subject.
Camp directors and camp staff deal with homesickness every summer. They will have a variety of solutions to make your child's stay enjoyable.
Be sure that your child is well and attend to potential problems before sending your child to camp. Be honest in your comments about your child's health. Perhaps your child may be a "picky" eater, have a "nervous" stomach, or be a "bed wetter". Whatever it may be, make a note of it on the medical form. None of these things are problems, when the directors know about them.
You can do much to prepare your child for the new and uncertain, yet highly rewarding experiences that will be encountered at camp through friendly chats about things that might seem different such as darkness (difference between city lights and country nights); noises; religion; security and self-confidence.
Assuming you are driving your child to camp, be sure to meet the director first and find out what is expected of you. Generally this will consist of meeting the leaders who will be directly in charge of your child, going on a tour of the camp with them, depositing your child's belongings at the proper place, and leaving the camp without prolonged involvement or farewells.
With just a moment's silent observation, you will be surprised how well-equipped your child is to take care of himself/herself right from the start. Much of this self-assurance on your part will stem directly from the fact that you will have agreed with your child that he or she will find the answers to any questions or problems merely by asking the leaders.
Let the camp decide where and with whom your child will be living. You know your child very well, but the director knows group living and camping.
One of the reasons for going to camp is to make new friends, be exposed to new conditions, as well as to strengthen old friendships.
Determine what the camp's guidelines are regarding communication to and from home while camp is in session. Also, follow the camp's guidelines with regard to sending food, treats, and other gifts.
Visit at prescribed times only. Some camps do not encourage parents to visit for at least 10 to 14 days. Your child should be given ample opportunity to get into the swing of things. Thereafter, if you have promised to visit, be sure to keep your word.
When your child comes home, recognize what he or she has done. Let your child tell of camp experiences.
Listen and you will hear about the crazy skit, the new song or the hike up to the top of the mountain.
BC Camping Association