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  • CREEK TALK BLOG

    Making the Transition from Day Camp to Sleepaway Camp

    It’s that time of the year again when making summer plans jumps to the forefront of all of our minds. Although the thought of falling into the same day camp routine as last summer might seem tempting, for many families, it is time to consider sending the kids to sleepaway camp. Sleepaway camp provides opportunities for campers to gain independence, build interpersonal skills, and explore new interests.  Although day camp provides campers with fun and fulfilling summers, there is no comparison to the happiness and friendships that sleepaway camp can bring a child.  After a few summers at day camp, sleepaway camp is a natural progression for children.  While choosing sleepaway camp this summer might seem like a huge change, there are some steps you and your camper can take to make sure that the transition is easy for the whole family.

    Include your camper in the decision-making process

    Although you might be the chief decision maker, making your child feel like they are part of the discussion around camp can help to shape a positive attitude around their summer plans. Giving kids some say in their destiny helps children to take ownership for the decision to transition to sleepaway and can make a child more confident going into camp. Let your child weigh in pros and cons of sleepaway and day camp options and validate any worries they have about changing their summer routine. Be sure to research some camps in advance so you can highlight activities and events at your child’s potential sleepaway camp that will pique their interest and get them counting down the days until summer!

    Plan some sleepovers

    Practice makes perfect- and that is certainly the case when preparing your child for sleepaway camp.  Give your child lots of opportunities to “practice” for heading off to camp by scheduling some sleepovers at a friend or family member’s house.  Having your child spend a few nights away from home before camp can help them to become more comfortable with the idea of being away from their own bed for a portion of the summer.

    Talk to the experts

    Camps are well-trained in easing the transition for first-time campers.  Camp directors and counselors alike have had plenty of experience helping children from all walks of life settle into the residential camp life, so rest assured that your camper will be in good hands.  Contact your camp staff and let them know that your camper is leaving home for the first time and inform them of any concerns that you and your camper have.  Many camps can arrange to have you meet up with other campers or counselors prior to heading off to camp so your child has a familiar face to look out for once they arrive at camp.

    Don’t make camp an either/or

    If your camper loved their day camp (there’s plenty to love at day camp!), be sure to let your camper know that going to sleepaway camp isn’t necessarily taking their beloved day camp’s place.  Let your camper know that, like day camp, sleepaway camp is a great experience that they have the opportunity to try, and that doesn’t mean that it is replacing their tried and true day camp indefinitely.  If it fits into your summer schedule and your budget, you might consider enrolling your child in both day camp and sleepaway camp so they can have the best of both worlds.  Once campers experience the joy of residential camp, they’ll be too excited to even think about their previous camp!

    Expect the best

    In most cases, the transition to sleepaway is over before it even begins.  Once your child gets to camp, they will likely be swept up into the excitement of new activities and the opportunity to make new friends.  The majority of campers hit the ground running and acclimate to camp with ease. Expect the transition to go smoothly and make sure your camper knows that you have confidence in them. A confident camper is a happy camper!

    The decision to transition to sleepaway camp is a big one but one that you won’t regret.  In many cases, the transition is more difficult on parents than it is on children, so take a deep breath and rest assured that your camper is going to be just fine.  With a little preparation and a positive attitude, sending your child off to summer camp will go off without a hitch!

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    Why Summer Camp Is Worth Every Penny

    It’s the beginning of the year and a time that typically inspires introspection. Is it a good time for a career change? Should we have another child? Is it time to up-size or downsize the homestead? And yes, is summer camp worth the cost? While we cannot help you decide if you should relocate or start a new career, we can outline our case for yes, Summer Camp Is Worth Every Penny!

    Whether you’re an old pro at sending your child to summer camp, or brand new to the idea, here are but a few reasons why it is well worth it:

    Friends

    Your child WILL make friends at summer camp! At the end of each summer, my daughter would become very anxious about the upcoming school year, always wanting to know who would be in her class, would she see old friends, who would she sit with at lunch, will the teacher like her. Summer camp taught her how to make friends, and eased her social anxieties long after camp ended.

    Social Media/Cell Phones

    I don’t particularly care for the term social media as there doesn’t seem to be much socializing going on. Every parent recognizes the safety-net cell phones provide for our children these days. It’s tough to strike a balance between being able to get in touch with your child at the drop of a hat, and all the other ‘social media-ing’ that goes on with kids and their phones. Camp is the perfect place and time for disconnecting. When not dependent on their phones, children engage with each other in real settings, enjoying real life experiences.

    Real Life Experiences

    Experiences! Think about it. Not reading about doing something, or watching a video about doing something, or seeing pictures of others doing something, but actually doing something and being engaged in the moment. Whether it’s learning to barrel jump in the equine arena, sailing atop the lake on a wave runner, star gazing in a sleeping bag on the ground, or finally mastering that backflip on the trampoline, camp is the perfect place to make friends and to learn new skills, and thus, developing independence.

    Independence

    As parents, we strive to protect our children all the time, from everything. To our own detriment, and at our own expense, we would gladly take every disappointment and hardship away from them if we could. Even at 22 and 30 years of age, I still worry about my children’s safety and happiness. It is, however, inevitable. Our children will become adults. They will become independent of us. How are they to know how to act, or which decisions are good ones, when they are away from us if we never allow them to be away from us? Camp is the perfect place for children to be safely away from home.

    New places, new people, new activities, new skills, living it up in the great outdoors, getting pushed from comfort zones, making decisions, and reaping rewards from all of this, camp is a safe and nurturing environment like no other. An invaluable experience overall.

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    5 Tips for First Time Counselors

    Congratulations, you got the job of your dreams and you are set to spend your summer months blissfully working at summer camp. But for now, with a few months until camp officially kicks off you might find yourself wondering what camp will be like and you might even start to feel some pre-camp jitters coming on. It’s time to calm your nerves, we’ve got some expert advice to ensure that your very first summer working at camp gets off without a hitch.  Read on for five useful tips for making your summer as a camp counselor a true success.

     

    1. Take advantage of the opportunity

    Your first summer at camp (and every summer at camp for that matter) is a great chance to broaden your horizons and get some new skills under your belt.  Many camps offer a variety of trainings to prepare you for working at camp.  Take advantage of these offerings. Oftentimes, camps will make available trainings that could benefit you at camp and beyond.  So, dive right into that lifeguard certification class, add some first aid skills to your resume, or take on the ropes course training; doing so will give you more opportunities at camp and might just give you a new hobby to explore.

     

    2. Get in the loop

    Get onto your various social media accounts and give your new place of employment a like or a follow so you can stay up to date on news and announcements that your camp might be sending out.  Additionally, many camps have Facebook groups for their staff where you can start getting to know your new co-workers before you even step foot on camp property. It is always reassuring to make a few friends before shipping off to camp, and thanks to our technologically advanced world, connecting with others who are near and far is easy as a click. These groups are also a great place to get some of your camp questions answered by seasoned veterans who have plenty of camp knowledge to share.

     

    3. Pack like a pro

    Along with the excitement of heading off to camp comes the biggest question for many new camp counselors: what should I pack?  Since packing suggestions vary from camp to camp based on climate and the range of activities offered at your specific camp, check your camp’s website or ask other employees for a packing list (many camps have a list that they send out to campers that can act as a good guideline for counselors as well).

    Remember that you will likely be moving bunks several times throughout the summer, as well as sharing very limited closet space with your campers and co-counselors, so pack strategically.  Try to pack into large duffels, suitcases, or trunks that will be easy to transport and could fit under a bed.  Don’t pack anything that you are unwilling to get a little dirty or that is tricky to launder- trust us, you won’t want to spend your free time hand washing your delicates while at camp.

     

    4. Rest up and relax

    As soon as you arrive at camp, you will inevitably hit the ground running and probably won’t get a chance to take a break until camp is disappearing in your rearview mirror at the end of the summer.  Camp moves at an incredibly fast pace, which can be exhausting if you aren’t prepared.  Before heading off to camp, be sure to get in all of rest and relaxation that you’ll need to make it through the summer. Take some time to unwind and decompress from your likely busy work or school life outside of camp, you’ll want to start the summer off feeling as confident and relaxed as possible.

     

    5. Be yourself

    Out of the pile of resumes, yours was the one selected and through the countless rounds of interviews, you are the one who was selected to be a counselor this summer.  You might not know exactly why you were hired, but it’s clear that you bring something outstanding to the table.  Camp is full of lots of personalities, and at times you might feel like you aren’t as outgoing or as creative as those around you, but rest assured that you are exactly who camp needs. There are campers out there who are wishing for a loud, outgoing counselor, but there are also campers who are dreaming of a quiet and calm counselor, so be your true self. Be confident in your personality and your abilities. You might start the summer off as the least experienced counselor, but that doesn’t mean you have the least talent, so don’t be afraid to shine!

    Feeling nervous about your upcoming job is normal but remember that you aren’t alone. Hundreds of other future counselors are out there feeling just as excited and unsure as you. Being hired as a camp counselor is a huge accomplishment and is the start to a summer like no other.  So get ready and let your excitement build because this summer is about to be the best one yet!

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    Why Parents Should Send Their Kids To Camp

    Choosing a camp for your child is a very important decision, and it’s one that we don’t take lightly at Canyon Creek. Parents browse hundreds of camp websites, carefully selecting camps that appeal to their child’s interests. All of this work can often leave the parent (and camper!) unsure of which camp to choose. This is why word of mouth is such a vital aspect to the growth of a camp, and is one of the biggest reasons why we have seen such a large growth at CCSC.

    Parents are great at finding information to help guide their decision, but hearing personal stories and testimonials are key in helping make the final choice of a camp. Don’t want to take our word for it? Great! Take the word of some of our parents! 🙂

    • “My son’s first camp experience was everything that we could have hoped for. He had a great time and cannot wait to go back!”

    • “My child can’t wait to go back to camp. Every day she keeps talking about her canyon creek experiences (she calls it her happy place). She comes back from camp with so much confidence, enthusiasm, and lifelong friendships. She literally counts the days until next summer.”

    • “Canyon Creek is my daughter’s happy place! She counts down all year until she can get back there to be with her friends and get on that lake!”

    • “I love Canyon Creek, I feel at home and Family and Respect does come home with me, it’s one of my favorite places on earth, I feel purified and I feel like myself.”

    • “We love CCSC! Our family completely trusts that our daughter will have not only have an awesome time at camp but will be safe and happy during her time up at the Creek!”

    • “My son loved the huge variety of activities, from Scuba to yoga to the weekly lake trips. But what really blew me away is how invested the directors are in the success of every camper. Canyon Creek has so much heart.”

    • “Canyon Creek is my daughter’s favorite summer place to be! She absolutely LOVES it! “It is fun and the counselors are superb!” We love everything from the T-shirts (which she wears daily) to the Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and all the great times in-between! • Canyon Creek brings out the best in your child. Finds strengths you didn’t even know they had.”

    • “CCSC is my happy place in the summer”

    • “Benjamin began attending Canyon Creek Summer Camp in 2013 at age 9. He attended a 2-week session that first year and has built up to staying at camp for six weeks each summer, including participating in the NBA All-Star Basketball Camp for three years! Benjamin found a place where he can be himself, is becoming independent, tries new activities and continually increases his confidence. There isn’t an activity at camp that he doesn’t love and he truly considers Canyon Creek to be his “home away from home.” Benjamin gets excited when he talks about all the wonderful counselors he’s had over the years and is counting down the days until he is old enough to become a CIT, then a counselor and someday becoming Camp Director. Thank you CCSC for making Benjamin’s summers an experience he’ll always remember!”

    At camp we are often so caught up in the moment, that it’s tough for us to take a second to appreciate the amazing things that we accomplish every summer. That’s why getting testimonials from our parents is so rewarding for us. Testimonials are a collection of personal affirmations on why camp matters, and to us, there’s no better thing!

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    How Camp Teaches Me To Lead

    Camp inspires confidence

    A great leader appears confident, even in times of weakness, which can prove to be supremely difficult.  After a few upsets, nothing feels harder than keeping your chin up and continuing to push forward, but great leaders find the confidence inside them to carry on. At camp, you are constantly surrounded by a sea of friendly faces who act as a safety net and allow you to take risks that you might not take in other environments.  Whether you are daring to climb to the top of the ropes course or singing a camp song in front of a crowd, camp is a place where you can test your own limits and feel supported regardless of the outcome. Building confidence in your own abilities is a huge step towards becoming a strong leader.

    Camp gets you comfortable with the uncomfortable

    Face paint and food fights might sound anything but typical in the real world, but at camp, they are just part of a normal afternoon. Camp is a place where nothing is ever too wild and crazy and any given moment is a chance to try something new. If the sometimes unusual activities that camp provides aren’t enough of a change from reality, the living conditions themselves can be quite the unfamiliar experience.  Camp forces you to live in close proximity with relative strangers, which can be a challenge in and of itself. It takes cooperation, flexibility, and the desire to be inclusive with others to make the best of this tricky new situation. Good leaders often have to step out of their comfort zone and make themselves vulnerable to those who they wish to lead, so getting to navigate the unpredictable, often awkward experiences that arise at camp makes you flexible and resilient.

    Camp forces you to take initiative

    There is never a dull moment at camp and that fast pace of camp life forces you to think on your feet and make things happen.  Forgotten are the days of waiting around for others to step up and take charge, at camp you are in charge of your own destiny. Whether your call to action is planning a bunk skit or gathering a team to take on the flag football game, every day provides opportunities to take initiative. A primary job of a leader is to inspire others and garner cooperation, which starts out on a small scale, such as at camp.

    Camp strengthens communication skills

    Without cell phones or laptops to get in the way, camp is a place where you can truly learn how to communicate with others.  Rather than giving in to the urge to text someone instead of having a meaningful conversation in person, camp makes you get back to the basics and figure out how to get your point across to others. A huge part of being a leader is communicating, so gaining communication skills at camp sets you up for success outside of camp.

    Vince Lombardi once said, “Leaders aren’t born, they’re made.” If there is one place in which leadership skills can grow and flourish, it is at summer camp, where every day offers new opportunities to challenge yourself and take risks. If you are looking to gain some strong skills in leading and inspiring others, check out what summer camp can do for you

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    25 Things We Will Miss About Summer

    img_1031-2 As the leaves begin to change colors and the weather gets a little chillier, we can’t help but think of summer and all of the amazing things we miss already. We thought what better way to help us get through these winter months than to think of 25 things we will miss about Summer Seventeen.

    1. Tournament
    2. Lake Days
    3. Chill Campfire
    4. Campfire
    5. Night Activities
    6. Trying to make it through the haunted house without screaming
    7. Jet Hawks Games
    8. Philly Cheesesteaks
    9. Yodi sleeping at the dining hall door
    10. Slurpies at 7/11 (or ice cream at Foster’s Freeze!)
    11. Spin It To Win It (No Whammies!)
    12. Tearing up the minibike track
    13. Go-karts
    14. Double Pool for Free choice
    15. Making the best tie-dye
    16. Breakfast at 9:00 (9:01! 9:01!)
    17. Spending all session long making the perfect friendship bracelet
    18. Dominating the ping pong table in the game room
    19. Water fights at the ropes course
    20. Seeing your tournament team and randomly doing your cheer with them
    21. BIRTHDAY RAVES
    22. Laser Tag
    23. Pizza at the lake!
    24. Building forts with Nature Rob
    25. Getting a hug 3 times a day by Camp Mom Jill

    Now that we made that list, we aren’t too sure if it’s going to help us get through the winter months as much as it’s going to make us wish Summer started RIGHT NOW!  What are things you miss? Let us know!

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    Director Letter 2017

    Dear Camp Families,

    After 17 years of summer camp – which includes thousands of tie-dye shirts, countless loops around the go-kart track, hundreds of campfire skits, more s’mores than you can imagine, and spool upon spool of friendship bracelet string – you would think that we have everything down to a science and know what to expect each June when our gates open to the first buses of the summer.  What amazes us each year though is that we don’t.  And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our campers and counselors continue to teach us new things, show us new ways to love, challenge us to be creative, gift us with the deepest belly-laughs we can muster,  and demonstrate the increasing relevance of the camp experience – for us all.

    Summer 2017 in particular really highlighted for us that camp is not only about laughing uncontrollably, singing at the top of your lungs in the middle of a crowded dining hall, finding out how high you can climb on the ropes course, letting go of your inhibitions as you jump up on stage, or creating memories with new and old friends in the relaxing hours of summer (although it, of course, has all of that), it is about so much more.  Camp is about the little moments.  The moments we all too often let pass us by because we are staring at our phones, or we are worried about what someone else will think of us, or we are anxious about the next big test.  In a world where all of our children are feeling more stress, are under more pressure, and may feel more scrutinized through friends and social media than ever, it is a refreshingly pleasant reminder for all of us to see kids including each other, laughing with each other, not caring what they look like, and simply just being kids.  We are constantly amazed at the sincere sense of community that happens in the little moments at Canyon Creek as campers talk and really connect with each other (without a single electronic device in their midst).  We knew 17 years ago that we had something special at ‘The Creek,’ but we could never have imagined the community that has blossomed out of the idea to create a space where kids can be outside, running around, having fun, and experiencing childhood as it should be.

    We should all be so lucky to be around kids all day, every day to soak up the inherent joy, curiosity, and empathy they possess.  We know that we are very, very lucky.  Not a day passes that we don’t feel immensely thankful to you for sharing your kid with us at Canyon Creek.  We hope that the lessons your kids learned in all of their little moments this summer will stay with them long after they have graduated from camp. Sharing cabin space and being respectful of other people’s habits and mannerisms will one day help them when they go off to college and have to share an unapologetically small dorm room.  Or one day when they accept their first job and have to navigate the working world with coworkers, they will have the foundation of community and respect they developed at Canyon Creek.  In the meantime, we will look forward to sharing the refreshing mountain air and glorious summer sun with your kids each year at ‘The Creek’ and we look forward to opening our gates again next June to see what Summer 2018 has in store for us all!

    Peace, Love, & Camp

    Daryl and Nathalie

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    Getting Ready for Camp

    Summer break is just around the corner and campers are counting down the days until they head off to camp.  Before any camper can saddle up for a trail ride or head out to the ropes course, a whole lot of steps have to be taken on the homefront to ensure that they are thoroughly prepared for their summer away.  Getting kids ready for a summer at camp can be a daunting task, but here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you to make sure your camper is well prepared and excited for their adventures at camp.

     

    Do make a packing list

    Most camps send out a packing list, but in the event that you don’t have one, it is a good idea to write out a loose plan of what you intend to pack.  Be sure to pack clothing and shoes that will allow your camper to participate in a wide variety of activities and will allow your child to be confident and comfortable while doing so. Check the camp’s website for any spirit days or events you might want to pack special outfits for. And don’t forget to throw in some sunscreen!

     

    Don’t pack more than is necessary

    Keep in mind that your child will be living in a bunk with several other kids, and the more you pack, the more stuff your child will have to be responsible for.  Packing hundreds of outfits will only result in a messy bunk and likely, a lot of lost clothing.  Don’t pack things that are uncomfortable or that your child doesn’t like to wear.  Keep it simple and when in doubt, less is more!

     

    Do talk to your camper about the possibility of homesickness

    Discussing the possibility of homesickness can help a camper be better prepared to cope if they do indeed find themselves missing home during their time at camp.  Make sure to let your camper know that homesickness is normal and talk through some strategies for handling it.  Keep your conversations positive and encouraging- remind your camper that you are confident in their ability to be successful and how sure you are that they will have a blast at camp.

     

    Don’t expect the worst

    As a parent, you send your kids to camp because you know that your child will learn, grow, and most importantly, have endless amounts of fun, so don’t second guess yourself!  Send your kids to camp full of positivity and your kids will surely get the most out of their summer.  Ditch the “pickup plan” for just in case they don’t like camp. Promising you will pick up your camper if they don’t like camp only works to plant seeds of doubt into your camper’s mind and could cause your kids to head off to camp with unnecessary stress.  Encourage your camper to head into this new experience with an open mind and get them excited about their summer plans.

    Do pack postcards, stationery, and stamps for your camper

    There’s no better way to encourage your kids to communicate with you during their stay at camp than by sending them with some awesome cards that they can’t wait to get writing on.  Help your camper to pick out a pack of stationary or two and get ready for the mail to pour in.  Kids these days don’t usually have a lot of experience with snail mail, so make sure you give your camper a quick review of how to address an envelope. For younger campers, you might opt to send your camper with several pre-addressed and stamped envelopes to help facilitate a smooth letter writing process while away.

     

    Don’t help your camper hide a cell phone in their luggage

    We get it- you are dying to hear from your camper after their first day or two at camp, but helping your child to break camp rules is a recipe for disaster.  Hiding contraband items, like cell phones, in your camper’s luggage will only force your camper to sneak around and could lead to disciplinary action- not an enjoyable way to spend the first days at camp.  Reassure your camper that, despite what they might believe, it is indeed possible to survive a couple of weeks without checking their Snapchat and help them to part ways with their beloved iPhone.

     

    Do make sure to send your camper some positive letters or emails on the first few days of camp

    The first few days of camp can be nerve-wracking for both you and your camper, but sending encouraging messages to your kids can bring some peace of mind to you both.  Tell your camper how excited you are for them and all the opportunities that camp is going to provide them with. Don’t be discouraged if your camper doesn’t respond right away- the first couple of days at camp are especially busy, but we’re sure you’ll hear from your camper in no time.

     

    Don’t fixate on what your camper is missing out on at home

    Life goes on, even when the kids are at camp, but don’t make your kids feel like they are being left out of fun happenings at home.  Instead of telling your camper every detail of what you are doing without them, be conscious of how your camper will feel reading your letters.  Hearing about family events or trips that are taking place while they are away can encourage homesickness, so be sure to keep your letters upbeat.

     

    Going to camp is the opportunity of a lifetime, and getting your kids prepared will make your camper feel confident and excited about their camp adventure.  There is no time like the present to start getting your camper mentally and physically ready for an unforgettable summer so get to packing, building the enthusiasm, and making a game plan for camp because your campers are in for the time of their lives!

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    How Camp Teaches You To Plan Ahead

    A summer of camp means endless fun and memories- but time at camp can also provide you with the opportunity to build important life skills.  One such skill is the ability to plan ahead.  Strong planning abilities are critical for success in school, future jobs, and in the day to day life and it is a skill that is regularly practiced and developed through experiences at camp. Here are a few of the many ways that you can work on your planning skills during your time at camp.

    Pre-camp packing

    Before you even set foot on camp property, your ability to plan ahead is put to the test when you start packing your bags for your stay at camp.  Packing involves planning for a wide range of activities that are available to you at camp to ensure that you have the appropriate clothing and supplies necessary to feel confident and prepared for each camp event.  Packing for camp also carries a great weight with it since as soon as you head to camp, anything that was left at home is no longer accessible- so planning out what and how you will pack is of the utmost importance.  Although you might enlist the help of a parent or other adult while packing for camp, you are the one who directly benefits from smart packing decisions, so pre-camp packing is a great time to start gauging the importance of having strong planning skills.

    Scheduling activities

    Once you make it to camp, you are thrust into a world full of fun and options.  As you decide on what activities you might choose to pursue, you again get the chance to work on planning ahead. While signing up for activities and thinking through your plan for the day or week, you must think about not just the immediate future but also the days and even weeks ahead of you.  Not only are you challenged to make decisions about the types of activities you might wish to pursue, but you also need to think through the logistics of your schedule and how to navigate making the most of your camp experience. Putting in some forethought can save you a lot of stress and time during your time at camp.

    Getting Ready for the Day

    Each and every day at camp is full of fun and excitement from the moment you wake up until the second you close your eyes at night.  Getting the most out of every waking moment at camp requires some planning in order to keep the days running smoothly.  To keep from wasting time and missing out on activities, you often have to plan out your day before you even leave your bunk for breakfast.  Thinking through the clothing requirements for the activities you plan to attend and any special events coming up that day can help you utilize your time well and can get you on your way to being a strong planner.

    Preparing skits and performances

    One of the best parts about being at camp is that there are so many opportunities to showcase your skills and talents.  Whether you are interested in participating in the talent show, putting on a skit for campfire, or simply performing your greatest skills for your bunkmates, planning, and organization is required to ensure that your performance goes without a hitch.  Preparing for shows or skits is a great way to gain time management skills since you will need to find time in your busy days at camp to create your routine, plan any costumes or props, and practice for your big show.  Preparing for skits and shows is also a great way to expand your ability to work with others and can be great practice for engaging in group work and projects at school or in future job settings.

    Planning is a skill that can lead to great success and far less stress in school, daily life, and in future employment opportunities.  With some practice, you could find yourself better prepared to take on school projects, college applications, and whatever else life throws your way. And really, can you think of anywhere better to build you planning skills than surrounded by friends, laughter, and fun at camp?

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    Going to Camp With Your Siblings

    Sibling rivalry might be a fact of life, but one place your kids are sure to find some common ground is at summer camp. At camp, arguments over who got the bigger piece of the cookie or what movie to watch are nothing but distant memories and children are instead able to focus on building confidence, independence, and fostering positive relationships- including those with their brothers or sisters. Every sibling dynamic is different, so every sibling camp experience is equally different, but camp is often a place where sibling relationships can grow and flourish.

    For some siblings, going to camp together carries feelings of excitement and joy. Every step of the camp preparation process- from selecting a camp to packing up the bags and loading the bus- provides opportunities for siblings to come together and share their enthusiasm. While at camp, kids have the chance to spend time together while also finding time to be independent. Many campers carve out a special time to meet up with their sibling each day to catch up on the latest events and share the excitement of the day. Having a sibling at camp means you are sure to have someone cheering you on at the talent show, someone to share your pride with after scoring a goal on the soccer field, and someone to proudly wear the friendship bracelet you have been working on all week. Sharing a camp experience can teach children to appreciate their siblings unlike they ever have previously. Siblings with a positive relationship going into camp are likely to leave camp with a stronger relationship than ever after some time away at camp together.

    For other siblings, the idea of going to camp together may be less endearing. It might seem counter-intuitive to send kids who often argue and fight away to camp together, but camp is the perfect environment for siblings who have a tumultuous relationship. Camp enables children to be as independent or dependent from each other as they choose. At home, a certain amount of “forced togetherness” can create tension between siblings, but at camp, children have the freedom to choose how and with whom they spend their time. When kids gain the ability to hangout and spend sibling time on their own terms, we often find that kids are much more open and willing to build positive relationships with their sisters or brothers. Oftentimes, kids who normally cannot stand to hangout with their little sister or older brother at home actually choose to spend bonding time with their siblings when they head off to camp.

    First time campers often find comfort in knowing that their sibling is accompanying them to camp. Even though campers spend much of their time with other children in their bunk or age group, having a familiar face and someone to check in with at meals and camp events can make being away from home a little easier. The passing hug between activities or special lunch periods that many camper siblings plan together help kids to support each other and build strong sibling bonds that are able to withstand anything that comes their way.

    Regardless of the type and strength of the relationship that siblings share outside of camp, a summer at camp is an experience that provides some common ground for kids to share and build a stronger relationship from. While at camp, your kids will become a part of something special that they have been through together, over which they will able to reminisce over for decades to come. After returning from camp, you might find that your kids suddenly have a lot more in common than they did when they left home- inside jokes, stories of wild camp events, and a little more respect for one another than you ever would have dreamed of before time at camp together.

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