six tips for getting ready for sleepaway camp (KIDS EDITION)

By Batsheva Feldman

1.    Go with someone you know
The beginning of camp can be hard, so having someone familiar in camp with you might help you keep calm.
●      Going with your best friend might not be necessary, but having someone familiar who you can check in with and say ”Hi” to on occasion can make the beginning easier. 
●      If you are going with an older sibling and not a friend your age, ask your parents if they know of anyone that you can meet beforehand so you have a familiar face in your division. 

2.    Ask questions!
Just because you are going with your friend Moshe who has been going to Camp Yaakov for three summers, it’s okay to still have questions about things you aren’t so sure about.  If you don’t know how something during the summer is going to work, ask your parents or someone who has gone before how it works. You don’t need to worry about the “What if’s” alone, there’s likely is an answer!

3.    Don’t let Mom pack by herself  
Once you are in camp, Mom’s not picking out your clothing in the morning, so you gotta know what you are packing!   - In camp things are going to get dirty! If you’re afraid to get something dirty, don’t pack it.  - Don’t over pack! Just because you really like all your hockey jerseys - you don’t need to bring all 20 of them.  Especially because you don’t want to get anything lost. - Bring your favorite toothpaste flavor (and soap, and shampoo!). Making sure to use your toiletries in camp is very important, even though that can be hard to do. Be sure that you actually like the products you bring with you. It’s silly to bring bubble gum toothpaste when you only like the watermelon flavor.  

4.    Be prepared to try something new
Even if you don’t think you’ll like an activity, give it a chance at camp. You never know what you might end up enjoying. You might really like Zumba, but if you sit on the side you’ll never know :)
●      Even if you are coming into camp with friends from school, become friendly with new kids!
●      You might have been used to different chores than the ones assigned to you in camp. Maybe you aren’t the only kid who has never cleaned the sinks or set up your own sheets before! Just because it is new to you, doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to do it.

5.    Ask for help if you need it
Camp is filled with staff members and adults that are able to help you when you need help Some ideas of who to ask for help:
1.      Your counselors 
2.     Infirmary staff
3.     Your division head
4.     Camp Parent

6.    Just because you are nervous, doesn’t mean you can't be excited
Beginnings can be hard, but it really does get better. Don’t worry if you are homesick the first few days, because a lot of people feel that way. The reason why no one tells you that is because by the end of the summer you are camp-sick, and you don’t remember those hard beginning days as much!     

See if you can come up with two possible solutions to each of these camp situations. Ask your parents, siblings, or friends if you need help coming up with ideas.

★   You made a new friend, Shana, in camp. Your friend from home, Chani, isn’t friends with Shana. How can you be friends with both of them while you are in camp?
★   Camp sometimes serves fish sticks for lunch. You really don’t like eating fish sticks. What should you do?
★   Yesterday the laundry went out and you forgot to put your clothing in the bag. The bunk’s laundry doesn’t go out for another three days, but you already ran out of clean undershirts.  What should you do now? 
★   During canteen time you see someone from your bunk making fun of a kid you don’t know. What should you do? ★   You never ever wet the bed at home. But last night you wet the bed in camp. You are so embarrassed and you don’t want anyone to know.  What should you do?
★   Your parents just sent you the newest Archie comic in the mail. Your friend Baruch saw that you just got it and wants to borrow it. It is brand new so you don’t really want to share it. What are you supposed to do?
★   You are given a job for clean up that you are having a hard time doing since you have never done it before and you don’t know how to do it. What should you do?
★   Dina was so nice and let you borrow her towel. You left it on the line to dry and now when you went to return it, it isn’t there anymore. What should you do? Congratulations on thinking about all of these questions! You are one step closer to camp readiness!  Wishing you an awesome summer!  

Batsheva Feldman is a senior completing her undergraduate degree at Queens College and is a student intern at the Five Towns Wellness Center in Cedarhurst, NY for Dr. Sara Schwartz-Gluck.


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