Click here to shop for Camp Stuff
PREPARING YOUR CHILD FOR CAMP
The Worlds First E-Booklet!
By Renaissance Joy*
The following e-booklet*, is written to help you
prepare your child for camp. Franky is a gender-neutral name that is intended
to be your child, in any place that you want to put your childs name.
Insert the name of your child in the place of Franky and this will be about
your child. He and she is used interchangeably throughout so as not to favor
one gender over the other.
Youve chosen a camp. You know it is a wonderful place because youve
heard plenty of feedback from friends, relatives and their children. The camp
is focused on the interests of your child and you know s/hell love it!
But: Its your babys first time away from home. Whats more,
it's your first time away from Franky (made up neutral gender name). How will
both of you cope?
Step one: Preparing Franky emotionally:
1. Tell Franky about the camp. Show her brochures that explain her interests.
There will be horses to ride or a place to swim or computers. Do not set expectations
too high or Franky may be disappointed. For example remind Franky that she will
have to share the horses and computers so she wont get to use them all
There will be other new things that may or may not interest Franky, like campfires,
singing camp songs, walks in the woods, arts and crafts, and more, all of which
can still be a fun, growing, and maturing experience.
If you went to summer camp as a child, spend a little time each day telling
stories about your experience. Dont just tell the good experiences, also
tell about the time someone hurt your feelings and the times you felt left out
or homesick and how you dealt with it. Or if you didnt deal with it very
well then, how you would have dealt with it if you knew then what you know now.
There will be fun times and there will be sad times. But mostly the times will
be fun times. Point out that the sad times are an opportunity to learn and grow
These growing experiences
are the ones that help a child mature and become an adult.
2. Q: What if nobody likes me?
A: Stop focusing on your bad feelings and find someone who needs your
help. You are a beautiful, sensitive person with a great capacity for kindness.
You can help others feel good by thinking about and caring about them.
Find the child who looks like they seem to be lonely or uncomfortable. Lets
practice some things you can say to help them feel better." Would
you like to sit [walk, talk, eat etc.] with me? Prepare your child for
rejection. If the child says no, remind Franky that this child
has their own problem. This is not Frankys problem. Dont waste time
on that child. Dont skip a
beat. Find another child that will appreciate your kindness.
Eventually youll find someone and when you help them feel better, youll
3. Q: "What if Im homesick?"
Promises To Comfort Your Child:
- Mark important dates
- The date Franky leaves
- The date she comes home
- The first visit
- Phone calls home
- Letters from home
- Keep Your Promises
- Write a bunch of letters on the first day in case you get too busy
- Pop one in the mail every few days
- Send at least one BEFORE she begins camp so she’ll receive it the first
day she’s there
- Stress the importance of communication
Always stress how important and special Franky is to you. Mention you love her
and tell her you are proud of her. Tell her that have confidence in her ability
to handle herself while she is away from you. When preparing for camp, focus
on the positive aspects of camp: the new friends shell make, the activities
shell enjoy and how proud you will be when she succeeds in learning and
independently while all the time loving her family. This is all a part of growing
up. If your child is anxious, reassure her that anxiety is perfectly normal.
All humans experience fear when faced with an unfamiliar situation. This is
a new adventure. How we handle our fears and new
adventures is how we grow up and become well adjusted grown ups. We can choose
to see it as a scary experience or an exciting adventure. What do you choose?
4. Now that youve reassured your child, how do you reassure yourself?
Now lets get a calendar
5. Send lots of stationery, stamps and self addressed envelopes to camp with
Franky. If drawing is Fanky’s thing tell her how excited you would be
to get a letter with maybe a drawing of her camp experiences. If not, suggest
something that your child has an aptitude for, something at which he can feel
successful, not something new that would be a stretch to succeed. Its
most important that this is something that s/he will feel good about. You could
suggest some beginnings for sentences such as:
Today I did
I liked it or I didnt like it because
I won or I lost at
I am happy or sad about
I can hardly wait to
I never want to
My counselors name is
.about my counselor
The best thing that happened today is
The worst thing that happened is
6. Make up an album before camp begins and send an inexpensive camera. Tell
your child that this will be a special memory bank of his experiences that he
will keep for his whole life. He will show the pictures to his children and
grand children. If you have any pictures of yourself at camp, share them with
7. Take day trips and overnight camp outs or even camping in the back yard is
good preparation. Sing camp songs and make smores.
8. Get some guide books about native plants, trees, birds and animals and take
noticing trips together. Notice the streams, lakes, flora, fauna,
birds and animals outside in nature. Look up information the book and discover
their names. Collect the plants and wildflowers noticing and learning from the
9. Along with the regular camp items, supply a list of which will follow, send
things your child can share with the other children. Include an autograph book,
trinkets such as costume jewelry, marbles, comic books, the guide books youve
been using, extra rubber bands, paper clips, little charms, sports cards, or
beany babies, with permission to give them away, [use imitation ones not the
valuable ones!] This will make help your child to introduce himself to the other
children and share something with the special friends.
10. Practice introducing lines. Eg. Hi, Im Franky.
Whats your name? I love horses and ...(Fankies favorite music group).
Whats your favorite group?
11. Remind your child that he must behave according to the rules in camp. Camps
do not tolerate behavior problems and will send the child home if they dont
follow the rules. Make sure you go over the camp rules before sending Franky
to camp so there are no guessing and no surprises. Some rules are not written
and still should be mentioned such as not having a knife or waking the other
children at night unless there is an emergency. It might also be important to
define an emergency. Blood or fire is an emergency. Drowning and choking is
an emergency. It might also be an emergency if you're really, really scared.
Step 2 What To Bring to Camp
Each camp has a different list of things to bring. The following is a general
list which is a requirement for many camps. Be sure to use your camps checklist
but check this list over for extras and suggestions and reminders:
[This list is based on a 2-week stay. Increase the amount of each item for longer
stays and depending on laundry facilities] I have carefully chosen, invented
or manufactured Special products over the years designed especially for your
little campers. Products followed by * and sku number may be purchased at www.campstamp.com
- Be sure to identify all
belongings.* I would suggest Camp
Stamp [sku42] . Camp Stamp is a Marker for identifying children's belongings
instead of ironing or sewing on labels. Camp Stamp is personalized and created
especially for your child with your child's name on the stamper. Camp Stamp
is quick and easy. You can mark a complete wardrobe in 10 minutes. Camp Stamp
comes with a black permanent ink pad or you can get the duo
kit with black and white ink [sku44]. If you are ordering at the last minute,
you can order a Camp Stamp Marking Machine. It has self adhesive letters that
you assemble yourself. With express shipping, you can get the Camp Stamp Marking
Machine in 3 days. The Camp Stamp Marking Machine is a self
inker with patented interchangeable velcro stamp fasteners [sku33].
- Sleeping bag/bed roll If
purchasing, recommend fiber filled for bulk
- Sheets *to cover mattress. I recommend the fitted camp
cot sheets [sku 85] which I especially designed to fit the camp cot size
usually used by camps. (camp cots are usually smaller than single beds) These
prevent the sheet, bedroll or sleeping bag from slipping so that your camper
does not end up on the unsanitary bare mattress. Also see the Camp
Cot Fitted Sheet Sets [sku 91]
- Long pants/jeans 4 pair
- Sweatshirts 2
- Sweat pants - 2
- T-shirts 10
- Shorts 4
- Swim suit 2 (no bikinis)
- Swim suit cover I recommend poncho
towel [sku35] or hooded poncho towel [35H]
- 1 pair Teva type sandals or water shoes
- 1 windbreaker or warm jacket or both depending on the climate
- Underwear 6 pair
- Socks 6 Pair
- Sneakers 2 pair in case one gets wet
- Non skid shoes especially if boating
- Rubber boots if climate might be rainy
- Riding boots if a horse camp
- Hat or cap with brim to shade eyes & face
- Towels 2 bath, 2 face towels, 2 wash cloths *See the towel
sets in a re-sealable water resistant bag [sku 52]
- Toiletry stuff: Soap, toothbrush, comb, brush, toothpaste etc. Travel
& Shower Kit *[sku 36k]
- Sunscreen SPF 30 or better & remind to put on all exposed skin BEFORE
going out in sun.
- Insect repellent (no aerosol sprays)
- Chapstick with 30 SPF or better
- Ear plugs
- Canteen* [sku31] Not too big or too heavy,
with a shoulder strap, easy to carry * I have specially chosen a canteen that
is not to  heavy and is just the right size for most children. If your child
is small, advise them to fill the canteen only half full.
- Flashlight with extra batteries When you order $50 with items other than your
Camp Stamps or more from www.campstamp.com, you receive a FREE flashlight!
- Book, cards, games for quiet time
- Camera and film
- Autograph books
- Diary or journal
- Stationary, stamps, envelopes (addressed)
- Back Pack with wheels is best* See Wheel
& Wear,Backpack on Wheels Large [sku49L] I recomend the Small [sku49s]
for the smaller younger children.
- Pajamas 2 pair In cool climates you might want to substitute sweat
suits for pajamas
- Prescription Glasses if your child wears them. Also a sports band to keep
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Long sleeve cotton shirts 2 to protect from the sun
- 1 nice outfit if there are religious services or for travel
- Rain suit or poncho* [sku32]
- Laundry Bag* Mesh [25m] or Solid
Cotton [25c] is available at www.campstamp.com Just the right size for a
child to handle. I like the mesh best for when wet stuff gets thrown in, they
are less likely to get moldy (depending on where they land!)
- Duffel bag to hold belongings * I Suggest the Zip Duffel.
[sku47b or g, (black or green)] Heavy canvas with full-length zipper. Expands
and contracts to amount of belongings inside
- Watertight Bag *[sku41] The water
tight bag at www.campstamp.com will keep things dry even if their belongings
get rained on or fall in the lake!
- Be sure to pack all medications separately with detailed instructions and
submit them to the camp staff.
Be sure to label all medications carefully. Masking tape works well. Most Camps
do not allow the children to have their medications, prescription or over the
counter, with their belongings. The camp medical staff usually handles medications.
They should be given to the camp with proper labels (masking tape will do) and
written instructions for use.
- Many camps DO NOT permit the following:
Radios, tvs, tape recorders, walkmans, video games, some food
items, chewing gum, knives or hatchets, fireworks, aerosol sprays.
- Be sure to complete and submit all application forms, healthcare information,
insurance forms, emergency contact forms early so this step is not forgotten
or late. Be sure you make payments at the required times. Think of how disappointing
and humiliating it would be for your child to arrive at camp and not be allowed
to participate or stay, due to a lack of simple communication.
Step 3 While At Camp:
1. Be sure to mail those letters. Keeping promises is most important at this
time to foster a sense of security and trust. If Franky knows things are solid
and predictable at home, it is easier to overcome the feeling of fear and homesickness
which often follows arrival at camp.
2. Check with the camp about what kind or Care Packages are allowed.
If they are allowed, send lots of Care Packages. Not every day or
they wont be appreciated. But how about twice a week? If the camp allows
it, cookies are great to receive and to share. When you send Care Packages,
be sure to send lots of stuff to share. Be sure to send enough for Fankys
whole cabin or group. When sweet fresh things come for Franky and are shared
by Franky, kids tend to feel sweet and warm toward Franky.
3. Suggest that Franky send his film from his camera to you as quickly as possible.
Get it developed right way, Get the duplicate copies and quickly send a copy
back to camp so Franky can have the pleasure of sharing the pictures with her
friends and counselors. If he is using a digital camera send 2 memory cards,
have him send the full one to you, get the pictures printed and send them right
back with the empty memory card.
4. If you are depressed and missing your child terribly, well, get a calendar
No, just kidding! Take this time to do some special things for yourself. Spend
a day at a spa or have lunch with the girls. A romantic time in a hotel with
your significant other, also known as sigoth [new word I coined]
You are the care giver and it is very important to take care of the care giver.
The care giver has so much more to give when s/he has taken care of him or herself
and has gotten some care giving for themselves. So give yourself permission
to enjoy and make the best use of this time.
5. Be sure to visit on visiting day unless it is
absolutely impossible. If it is impossible, try to get a favorite relative or
friend to visit. Be on time. Dont put your child through the waiting and
6. When you write letters, ask about the daily
activities; what he liked, didnt like and why. What did they have to eat
and did she like it? Is there anything special she forgot to take or you forgot
to send and would she like you to send it now? This is his time and you want
to make it special and let him know that you want to make it special just for
No matter how well you prepare your child, there will be bumps in the road.
If you expect the bumps, you can handle them calmly. Homesickness,
nobody likes me,
Im being badly treated are to be expected. But usually the
child expresses those feelings and then forgets about them while you are left
with them lingering like a heavy weight on your heart long after Franky has
gotten busy and is enjoying herself. If you are really worried, call the camp
director and discuss your concerns. Usually youll find Franky has gone
on to play and fun. The crisis pass as soon as it is expressed. Generally it
has been more traumatic for you than for Franky.
Camp is a wonderful growing experience for your child and for you. Be easy on
yourself. Your child will survive, learn, grow and blossom during the camp experience.
Camp will be a cherished experience and become a special memory. Enjoy!
Please give me your feedback, suggestions, ideas that have been helpful for
you. Ideas you would suggest for other parents. Anything you want to share!
Email to: CPCustService@yahoo.com
Thanks for taking the time to visit www.campstamp.com. Please be sure to tell
your friends, neighbors and relatives about us. Fill in your's and your friend's
email address and we will send an email to your friend with our URL:
to shop for Camp Stuff