Preparing Your Child for Sleepaway Camp
Sleepaway Camp provides children with experiences they just don’t get anywhere else. Whether your child is a young camper going away from home for the first time, a middle-schooler eager to explore the world beyond their immediate community, or an older teen ready to take on the challenge of leadership, Sleepaway Camp mixes fun, challenge, and support to make memories that last a lifetime!
At Camps McAlister and Talcott, our YMCA Sleepaway Camps in upstate NY, we have been welcoming first time campers for 100 years. Our directors have this advice for preparing your child for their summer adventure:
- Get them excited about a summer of fun! Your child is about to go to a place where they can spend a night under the stars, sing songs by a campfire, scramble to the top of a climbing tower, and hit a bullseye in archery. This new adventure is an exciting time for both of you. Remind them of all that sleepaway camp offers, and ask what they’re most looking forward to trying out for the first time.
- Be positive about the experience. It’s natural for a first-time camper (and you as a parent) to be nervous. This may be the first time they’re away from home by themselves. Your attitude makes all the difference. Remind your child they are going to a place that has spent more than 100 years helping kids grow and have amazing summers. If there are any timid feelings, they’ll go away once your child sees our 1,000 acres of land — their new summer playground. And, our counselors are all trained in helping campers overcome obstacles and enjoy adventure.
- Remind your child that they should be proud of their character and strength. Camp is going to tap into their strengths and help them grow even more! YMCA counselors are specifically trained to help children enjoy their independence and practice Y core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. They will have adventures they never imagined, and enjoy all the friends they make along the way.
- Get familiar with camp in advance. Look at the website together for photos of our three lakes, playing fields, tennis and basketball courts, ropes courses, and more. Also explain how they will get there and what sleeping accommodations are like. Be sure they see photos of many smiling faces, proof that this is a fun time! If you can, visit! Our camps hold several open houses throughout the winter and spring to show off all that camp has to offer.