Prepare Your Kids for Camp: Things to Teach Them Before They Go

By Cindy Presser Benedek, Associate Director

Although camp staff members are happy to provide assistance when needed, campers will learn more and feel better if they can do things for themselves. If you’re one of those parents who is constantly surprised by the things your kids know how to do – troubleshoot your home computer, program the TV, make fabulous grilled cheese sandwiches – you’ll be amazed at the things they don’t know how to do because they have never been asked to do them all by themselves.
We recommend you send your kids to camp knowing the following basic skills:

Make a Bed.

Campers are going to need to put their sheets on their beds, not only on day one, but when they are expected to change their sheets weekly during our big Shabbat clean-up! You will also want to remind them that by making their bed properly in the morning, and keeping unwanted dirty shoes, snack crumbs and creepy crawlies out of their sheets, they will be much happier going to bed at night, as it is always nicer when your sheets are straight, clean and your blankets are tucked in.

Eat Right.

At many camps, kids are offered several choices at mealtimes. They can choose wisely and enjoy a high-energy level and overall well-being during their camp stay. Or they can choose poorly and suffer the many consequences, ranging from fatigue and irregularity to sugar highs and headaches. Remind your children to go easy on the sugar and junk food and fill up on proteins, fruits and vegetables instead.

Take a Shower.

Preteen campers are notorious for their inability to attend to matters of personal hygiene – daily showers, tooth-brushing, deodorant. These trivial concepts are easily overlooked in the morning rush to breakfast. Because campers are embarrassed by hygiene talk, this is a tricky issue for counselors to handle. Make sure your campers know that proper hygiene is a health concern, as well as a social concern.