We recently came across this article which was written by our friend Jill Tipograph. It’s a quick read and loaded with tried and true advice. By taking a minute to have a brief and focused conversation with your child/ren about summertime goals it just might make all the difference. We have always found that when goals are discussed and understood, they are much more likely to be realized!
Camp is just around the corner and we are can’t wait to begin our 64th Summer of friendships and fun atop beautiful Mt. Delight!
All the best,
Greg & Laura Pierce
Preparing for the Summer
By: Jill Tipograph, Youth Development Expert & Educational Consultant; Owner & Founder of Everything Summer & Beyond, LLC
You’ve done your research. You picked the right program. Your child is enrolled. On paper, your child is ready to go. Sure their bags may be almost packed, but are they (and you) ready – emotionally and mentally?
Regardless of your child’s age, we suggest engaging in a healthy conversation before summer activities and plans commence. Select a setting that is most natural for you and your child or teen, whether it be formal or informal, in the car or at the dinner table.
For First Time Campers:
Enrolled in either a day or overnight program? Begin your conversation by revisiting camp materials, website and photos. These materials will remind your child of what the facilities and campgrounds look like, which will give them a sense of familiarity when they arrive.
Discuss the transportation. For day campers, make sure your child is aware of what bus number he or she is on. If there are any special days at camp, where your camper either will return home early or extend their day, make sure your child is aware of when those special days will occur. For sleepaway campers, find out from the camp if there are any special activities planned for the bus ride or flight.
With your child, set one primary goal for him or her to accomplish over the summer. Design the goal to be attainable and age appropriate, to set your child up for success. Goals could be making a new friend, trying a new activity at camp, advancing their skills in their favorite activities, or trying a new food. The independence and growth you want your child to experience is built into the camp.
And parents of campers, remember to save all letters; in today’s world of technology, this lost art of communication means even more!
Begin by discussing the overall theme of the program. You already know where your child is going and when their departure is, but what are they set out to accomplish? What are the program’s goal(s) as well?
Next, review their program’s packing, technology and no tolerance policies. Unlike the camp duffels that are picked up a week in advance, your teen will be taking their baggage with them the very same day of their departure. Follow the suggested packing list (if there’s extra room in their luggage, add more socks and underwear!) and respect their technology policies. If a program does not allow cell phones, computers, and/or tablets, make sure your teen is compliant with the program’s technology policy. These programs are very strategic, and certain distractions will take away from the experience. If a teen disrespects their technology policy, then the program Director and your child will get off to the wrong start. And depending on their rules, there may be consequences.
Lastly, we recommend your teen take a moleskin journal with them to write down notes, thoughts. Teen summers and experiences can make for incredible college essays and those fine details, moments of clarity, epiphanies, will be quintessential for building a great essay. Additionally, other back to school assignments may require details of their past summer. By keeping a daily journal to reflect excursions and experiences, their memories will be preserved and described clearly when they need to return to their experience at a later date. Whether it be an academic program, community service program, or experiential travel, their summers will be memorable and unforgettable!
In addition to summer trips and programs, teens also need time to balance their summer reading and school assignments. With so many summer plans, it’s easy for teens to neglect their work and wait till the last minute. Sit down with your teen and look over a calendar. Highlight the specific dates when they’ll be unavailable. Together, decide the dates when they should focus on summer reading and school work. Planning ahead and allocating specific dates for their studies will prevent them from waiting till the last minute, and it’ll keep you in the know when they’re supposed to do their work.
Though you may be a little stressed out now preparing your family for their experiences, remember that the summer is meant to be a time for joy, self-discovery, and freedom. Be calm and collected when you say your goodbyes, and give yourself a pat on the back for letting your child or teen explore the world on their own.