SHAKER LIFE | WINTER 2014 47
you tell your child is
ready for camp?
We find that younger children who are able
to separate for school are also happy to be at
summer camp. In Shaker, our camps start
at kindergarten, so most of our campers are
accustomed to being away from parents and
caregivers for part of the day.
For preschool age camps, it comes
down to how comfortable your child is
without you there. But in my experience,
children who have been in a school
setting during the year, including
preschool, tend to do well at camp too.
parents pick a camp
that suits their child?
It’s important to ask your children what
they’re interested in doing. If a child is
pushed into doing something he or she
is not interested in, that child will not
thrive at camp. Some children prefer an
easy-going summer with a lot of play,
so that tends to be more of a traditional
camp. Some want to develop skills—like
a sports camp—and others may prefer
a specialty camp, which focuses on a
particular area, such as theater or science
or music. Older children may be ready for
sleep-away camp. See pages 49 and 50
parents look for in a camp?
I would absolutely look for swim lessons,
especially if your child is not already
enrolled in lessons for the summer.
Learning to swim is so important
and camp is a great way to do that.
Affordability, of course, is important to
many families. You also want to make
sure the staff is experienced and that the
camp offers a well-run program.
a well-prepared camper look like?
For starters, they carry a water bottle. It’s
summer, so it can get hot, and in Shaker
we’re often outside. Even when we’re
inside, not every facility is air conditioned,
so campers need to stay hydrated.
They need a lunch and, most
important of all – and I can’t emphasize
this enough – closed-toe shoes. When
children are in camp, they are playing and
running. We’re cautious about safety, so
we don’t want children coming to camp in
flip-flops because the potential for injury
greatly increases. So, wear sneakers or
open-air shoes with closed toes.
Sun block, especially if your child
tends to get sunburned, and a bathing suit
and towel if the camp includes swimming.
there’s a problem at camp?
You want to make sure the camp has
counselors who are attentive to the needs
of the campers. If it’s a behavior-related
issue, the counselor will probably reach
out and talk to the parents. And parents
should let the counselor know about
any concerns, so the counselor can help
manage those concerns. Younger children
can occasionally be weepy, missing their
parents or siblings. That’s normal, but
again an attentive counselor goes a long
way in helping children when those
moments happen. SL