6 Ways to Safely Prepare Your Child for Summer Camp This Year
With proper planning, your children will be prepared for a summer of fun and camp safety.
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Explain to them that the safety protocols they have been following for more than a year (hand washing, social distancing, wearing face masks, etc.) will be happening at the camp, but also impress upon them the magic of camp. "The camp experience is completely different than any other activity children participate in," Weir says. "We recommend that parents remind children no matter how many safety protocols we will follow, it will never impact the magic of camp."
Before picking a camp, visit in-person if possible.
Obviously, camps will look and function a lot differently than previous summers. While you can read about the safety protocols in place at specific camps, you can't fully understand how the camp will function unless you visit.
For example, by visiting in-person, you can see for yourself where security is, whether the staff members are wearing masks, how many hand sanitizer stations are set-up, etc. Weir provides 3 key factors to look out for visiting a camp:
Is it a clean and well-maintained facility?
Is there an indoor or covered space to keep camp running during inclement weather?
Does the camp offer fun activities to meet the interests and abilities of your child?
A camp's website largely provides general information that relates to as many children as possible. By visiting a camp in-person, you will know from the tour whether the facility is the correct choice for your child.
Keep asking questions during the camp season.
While there is a lot that goes into picking a camp, the hard work doesn't stop after you have made the decision. You want to make sure that the camp is still fun and following its own safety protocols throughout the summer, so ask your child about their day at dinnertime.
Of course, after a busy day of having fun at the camp, your child may be exhausted and won't want to answer many specific questions, so keeping your questions light and open-ended. "Often, a family will get a much better picture of how camp is going when they ask for a story," Weir says.
What kinds of questions should you ask? Try the following:
What friends did you make?
Do you have a funny camp story to share?
Did you try anything new today?
What activities did you do today, and which one was your favorite?
What were the staff/counselors like?
These will give you a general idea whether your child is having fun and staying safe.
Remind yourself that this summer will be new and exciting.
Keep reminding yourself that, more than likely, this summer will be filled with sun, sweat, and camp spirit in a safe environment. Focus on the social time your child will get and the friends they’ll make. At the very least, the camps have no plans to slow down.
"We are offering all our core staples—swimming, sports, arts and crafts, STEAM activities, adventure and team building activities, and camp traditions like color war. All of these activities have adapted to still provide a fun experience while mitigating any risk of communicable diseases," Weir assures.
Now more than ever, camp will be a fun escape for kids during the summer months. While it’s important to focus on safety, remind yourself that camps can still "provide a safe place for children to discover, dream, and grow."
Main image courtesy YMCA of Long Island