Setting the Stage for Success
Next summer I have a nephew coming to Eagle’s Nest for his first camp experience. A couple of years ago I had another make his first big “away from home” journey a great success. From both of them I have heard the excitement and apprehension in their voices as we have talked about what camp will be like. As I have done so, I have been taken back in time to helping my kids prepare for their own adventures away from me and my husband.
Setting the stage for success in these big transition times is so important. Each child is very different in how they will approach that moment but there are some things that are very common at almost any age whether or not they are being vocalized: “where will I sleep, what will I eat, will I have friends, how do I communicate with home, what do I do if I miss home and how long until I see you again?”. When you get down to it, they represent the base levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
It is never too early to start setting that stage to help them feel comfortable with those questions as you plan for your child to set off for camp next summer. Over the upcoming holiday break is a great time to get going. There could be a small camp oriented gift for the holidays -water bottle, flash light, something they will use at camp next summer. Visit the website together and look at the cabins, dining room and daily schedule. Talk about how the day will flow for them while they are away. Make a list of questions they have and go on a hunt together to find the answers. As you get into the spring start to look at that summer calendar and show them exactly when they will go to camp, how many days it is on the calendar and when you will be there to pick them up. If they don’t take a shower already, teach them that skill. If they don’t know how to swim yet, or are not strong in the water, consider signing up for lessons at the local Y. Teach them how to address an envelope – a skill we are seeing fast disappear. Make an address book together and talk about letter writing as a great way to stay in touch.
Listen to the questions they ask about camp and help them to figure out the answer.
Maybe they want to e-mail Paige the Camp Director with your help or maybe the want to make friends with someone in their town who is already going to Eagle’s Nest. All the while, let them know you think they will be successful and it will be fun! If you need help figuring out more ideas let us know. We are all about setting up our young people for success through healthy challenge in a supportive atmosphere.