Welcome again to another episode of the Mini-Yo-We Mom podcast. Christine chats with Sarah and Michelle about helping first time campers prepare for camp. Every year there are hundreds of first time campers, so if that’s your child, they are not alone! And each year, we hear reports of first time campers absolutely loving their time at Camp Mini-Yo-We. So listen in as we share our experiences and tips in helping kids prepare for their first times at camp.
- Hear other experiences. // When you’re first considering sending your child to Camp Mini-Yo-We, it helps to hear from other people about their experiences sending their child there and about their child’s experiences. When you know someone who has had those experiences, it gives some comfort to know that they’ve enjoyed it. Listen to stories from others who have been there and what experiences the kids have had there, what activities they will get to do, and the impact it will have on their lives. If you don’t know someone in person, check out the website and Facebook page and look for comments by other people online to see what their experiences are.
- Check out the camp early. // Come check out the camp in person before the summer starts. There is Family Day in February, in which you can check out the camp, try out some of the activities, and meet the staff. In May there is Open House, which is more like the camp experience and gives you and your kids more of an idea of what to expect during the camp week.
- Watch recap videos. // The recap videos let your kids see what the kids are doing at camp and how much fun they’re having and it can help get your kids excited for these activities. And if they know anyone who has been to Camp Mini-Yo-We, they may even see some of their friends in the videos!
- Get your kid used to doing things on their own. // One of the biggest hesitations a first time camper may have is leaving home for several days for the first time. Some ideas to help ease this fear is to let your child have a sleepover at a friend or cousin’s house. Or maybe stay with their grandparents for a few days. Let them experience some time away from Mom and Dad. Even if they don’t spend time away from you, let them learn to get themselves ready for bed on their own. Let them take care of the basic necessities such as brushing their teeth and getting into their pajamas. If they usually take baths, prepare them for taking showers.
- Create traditions. // Make going off to camp special by creating a tradition to mark the weekend that your kid goes off to camp. Maybe take a picture of the family under the Camp Mini-Yo-We sign or do a special dinner the night before camp starts.
- The staff helps with homesickness. // One of the most common worries for parents is that their kid might get homesick. And if this does happen to your child, the staff is there to help. Kids are usually so busy during the day that it isn’t much of an issue, but night time is different. The leaders are trained to help kids through this. They talk with the kids, sit with them on the porch, read with them, or pray with them. They encourage the kids to write a letter home. The staff members will be there to comfort your child and help ease any homesickness they may experience.
- Ease into the camp experience with Express Camp. // If you or your child worries about being away from home for a whole week, Express Camp is a great option for the first time camper. Instead of registering for whole week, the camper goes for just 3 nights. They arrive on Sunday night like everyone else. On Tuesday, the section head has a chat to see how the child’s week is going and how they feel about camp. They then make a call home to the parents and let them know how their kid is doing. At that point the parents and their child can decide what they want to do. The parents can either pick up their kid and go back home or let the child stay for the rest of the week. Express Camp allows the kid a chance to experience camp, but go home early if they don’t think they can handle being away from home for the whole week. Most kids do decide to stay!
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