Running Off the Energy of Camp

There is a buzz, an excitement, and an energy that you can feel in their air every morning when you wake up at camp. It’s a feeling that puts an extra pep in your step before your feet even hit the floor. Even camp staff and counselors who regularly need coffee to function admit to waking up with a new sense of excitement and readiness for the day before their usual cup of coffee. The energy of camp is something that is hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it yourself. The gorgeous grounds and being surrounded by such positive people is a natural stimulant that gives campers and staff a boost of energy each and every day.

It’s hard to be in a bad mood when beauty is everywhere you look. There is the natural beauty of the campgrounds, the lakes, the mountains, the sprawling fields and gigantic trees. There are the quiet mornings and peaceful evenings, the glow of the campfire and the soft sound of the breeze in the trees. The beauty of camp is refreshing, and spending a few minutes in silence, appreciating the vastness and beauty of it all is usually enough to get anyone out of a mental slump.

There is beauty and energy in the people of camp. The relationships that are formed and fostered here, the activities that take place, and the memories that are made create a unique sense of positive energy that is contagious. Campers can’t help but run, jump and skip across camp, because there is so much joy and happiness surrounding them! Of course not every single moment of every single day is rainbows and butterflies, but campers report feeling upbeat, encouraged, energized and excited for the majority of their time at camp.

Camp staff and counselors feed off of the genuine excitement and positive vibes of the campers. There is just something about camp that keeps the energy alive from sunrise to sunset. You’ve got to spend a summer here so you can understand it!

Camp Can Increase a Child’s Communication Skills and Why That Matters

 

Dear America’s Finest Summer Camps,

 

I wanted to write to personally thank every camp counselor, director, and anyone else who was responsible for the incredible camp experience my daughter had over the summer. My daughter Kelsey wasn’t like other young teenager girls her age when it came to the communication department. Other moms would vent in frustration about how their girls talked non-stop, but I never had that problem with Kelsey. Sometimes I WISHED I had that problem, but Kelsey just wasn’t a talker.

 

This worked against her in school, where she had severe anxiety at the mere thought of public speaking or even raising her hand to ask a question in class. She became more of a follower than a leader because it was easier for her to go with the flow than to speak up. I think she spent a lot of time being unhappy or discontent because she couldn’t find the words to communicate what she wanted.

 

Although she was nervous to go to camp, I knew we had to do SOMETHING to get her used to talking to other people. Camp was the best decision we ever made.

 

At camp, Kelsey shared a cabin with a handful of other girls, all of whom who were much more outgoing and outspoken than she was. A few of them took her under their wings and made her feel comfortable and included, and those girls are some of her best friends now. I am so thankful for those girls who didn’t take advantage of her quietness but embraced it as a part of who she was.

 

Throughout the day at camp, Kelsey had these two or three friends to do things with. They’d eat lunch together, play sports together and do crafts together. Somehow these young girls knew that all Kelsey needed was to feel comfortable and she’d eventually come out of her shell. And come out she did!

 

By the middle of camp, Kelsey was cracking people up with her sense of humor and witty jokes. People wanted to be around her because she really is so funny! People wanted to sit with her during campfire times and they wanted her on their teams when they played sports. She really started to open up!

 

I heard from counselors that by the end of camp, her confidence had skyrocketed. She was asking questions when he needed help, she was talking about issues or problems she had with other campers, and she seemed to be the life of the party everywhere she went. When she got home, she explained to me that at camp, you don’t have that fear of being made fun of or rejected for what you say. She said she felt comfortable in the group of friends that she had made, and felt that she could trust and depend on her counselors to listen to what she was saying. She learned to resolve issues calmly and confidently and to speak up when she felt something was important. When she came home, she was practically a different person. Her confidence was so high, and I officially had one of those teenagers that talked nonstop.

 

It is sad to me that her school environment is not as safe and welcoming and open as the camp environment. I wish teachers would focus on the quiet and shy students more, and help them come out of their shells instead of just ignoring them. I am so thankful for the girls who welcomed Kelsey in, and the counselors who constantly encouraged her to speak up and reminded her that her thoughts and in opinions were valid and important.

 

Ever since Kelsey learned to communicate while at camp, her life has really changed. She’s more of a leader now, she has great friends, and her problem-solving skills have completely turned around. She stands up for what she believes in and that makes me very proud. She is always careful to make other people who are shy and timid feel comfortable and heard like the girls at camp did for her.

 

There are a million great things about camp, but for our family, teaching Kelsey how to communicate and boosting her self-confidence were life-changing. We will be forever grateful.

 

-Sincerely,

 

Mother of a chatterbox

The Value of Communal Living at a Young Age

We’ve all heard horror stories of terrible college roommates; the ones who are dirty or irresponsible or rude or have no self-awareness. It raises the question, if these people would have been exposed to more communal living experiences growing up, would they be better roommates as an adult? Living with others is a skill that many children only learn from living with their families. Many children never share a room or living spaces with people other than their family until they go away to college. So it’s no surprise that these children struggle when it comes to etiquette and social norms that come with communal living.

Spending a summer at camp is a great way to prepare your child for the realities of living with other people in their adulthood. It helps them become aware of their surroundings and the way they impact the space that they share with others.

Early risers learn to occupy their time quietly and respectfully in the mornings without waking up others. Night owls learn to keep things quiet once it’s time for “lights out.” Children who are used to being disorganized at home learn that their messiness affects others when sharing a cabin, and they begin to learn the importance of organization and cleanliness. Sharing a cabin also teaches campers to respect property that is not theirs, such as the beds in the cabin, the bathrooms, etc. They learn to be aware and careful about how they treat things that are not their own.

From day one, campers are taught about their roles and responsibilities as a member of a specific cabin. Counselors know that this may be a camper’s first time living with others, so they use gentle reminders and guidance to help campers keep their personal spaces tidy, to stay organized, and to respect the other campers around them. Every day at camp is a new opportunity to learn valuable life skills and prepares them to be respectful and responsible roommates in the future.

Living together with 8-10 peers gives campers the chance to learn how to deal with different personality styles. It gives them a chance to practice their communication and conflict management skills.

Nobody goes into parenthood with a goal to raise a nightmare roommate. All parents want to raise kind, considerate, self-aware human beings who others like being around and, eventually, living with. Gifting your child with a summer away at camp is about more than sports and campfires. It is about learning valuable life lessons that will help them become a more productive member of society.

Your child will thank you. And so will his/her future college roommates.

How Camp Makes You Confident – Not Arrogant

The first time they arrive at camp, campers may feel anything but confident. Everything is new, people they don’t know surround them, and they aren’t quite sure what to expect. But as the days go by, they are constantly exposed to new experiences, adventures and activities that push them out of their comfort zones. They try new things, they fail, they try again, and eventually they succeed. This creates a confidence boost that helps them realize that they’re capable of much more than they sometimes give themselves credit for, and it gives them the push they need to venture further out of their comfort zone and try even more new things.

Camp has a special way of boosting confidence without creating a sense of arrogance. Confidence comes from trying new things and feeling positive about what they’ve accomplished, without feeling the need to brag, boast or make others feel inferior. Confidence is admitting mistakes and learning from them, while arrogance is denying that mistakes were made at all. Confident people encourage other people to be their best, while arrogant people think that they are the best.

Camp counselors help campers learn the difference between confidence and arrogance by demonstrating it in their every day lives. Camp counselors demonstrate confidence when they lead a group of campers on an outdoor adventure or tackle an activity or obstacle that is difficult for them. They demonstrate how to be graceful winners when they are successful, and have a positive attitude regardless of if they win or lose. Campers learn a lot just by watching their counselors, which is why America’s Finest Summer Camps only hires counselors who demonstrate a high level of confidence without coming off as cocky.

Campers try new things, meet new people, eat new foods and learn new things every day at camp, and it boosts their self-confidence. This in turn builds their character and self-esteem, making them happier individuals for a lifetime. It is fundamental for campers to establish a healthy sense of self, and this can be done by stepping out of their comfort zone, trying new things and being made to feel encouraged and capable by the people around them.

Camp creates happy, healthy and confident kids who are self assured enough to walk into any situation with a positive attitude, and who encourage others to feel the same.

The Gift of Family Camp

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Giving your child the gift of a sleep-away summer camp experience is one they will cherish for the rest of their lives. But what about kicking it up a notch? Why not treat your entire FAMILY to the summer camp experience of their dreams, and make it an international vacation?

If you’ve ever thought about bringing your family to the United States for a dream vacation, spending it at Family Camp at America’s Finest Summer Camps is the way to do it! Not only are you allowing your child to experience the excitement and adventure of international travel, but also you are including a final destination that they will remember forever.

Families who travel internationally benefit in many ways. The shared experiences of travel bring families together and connects them in a special way. Getting somewhere together takes teamwork, and families who work together to get from point A to point B successfully set themselves up for working together in other areas of their lives. Part of traveling internationally is learning new things, and when families learn together, they have another thing to bond over. Whether it is learning to read a map, decipher unfamiliar road signs, learning a new language or trying a new food, parents and children who travel internationally broaden their horizons and learn to appreciate diversity. Traveling together as a family gives parents the opportunity to give new responsibilities to their children, to help them branch out of their comfort zone, and expose them to new things. Studies have even shown that kids who travel with their families do better in school than those who don’t!

The many options for things to do at camp give families a great opportunity to connect. There are family activities that require everyone work together towards a common goal, and individual, age appropriate activities from everyone from the little Tykes to teens and adults. These activities are made to strengthen the bonds between family members, and to provide a lifetime of memories and stories that start with “Remember when we went to Family Camp and….?”  Having access to so many different activities, programs and events gives every family member a chance to explore things they’ve never done, and experiencing this as a family brings everyone closer.

From eating together to sharing a cabin, this quality time spent without the distraction of cellphones, homework, social media and overtime helps to build a solid foundation for every family that comes to camp. Many international families use Family Camp as a starting point for an even longer vacation. From camp, they head to NYC, Niagara Falls and the Pocono Mountains. They get their trip off to a great start by really connecting together and recharging their batteries, and it sets them up for a fun filled vacation for the rest of the summer.

The thing that makes Family Camp so special is all of the different families that come to take part in it. Adults and kids alike leave with brand new friends, most of whom they would have never met had they not come to camp. International families benefit from Family Camp because it’s a safe place to learn about a new culture, in a place where they are welcomed and where people are excited to have them. Traveling abroad can be exciting, but also a little scary, and Family Camp aims to take the stress out of being in a new county by allowing families to play in a way they don’t normally get to back home.

Family Camp is made for all types of families, from all different parts of the world. It is a safe place where families can learn more about each other, strengthen relationships, talk, listen and most importantly, reconnect. Giving your family the gift of an international vacation where they can play, explore and experience new things with you by their side is the best gift you can give them. It’s not only a fun way to build the summer, but a once in a lifetime opportunity that builds character, self-esteem, and family bonds.

 

Looking for S’MORE Family Time? Sign up for one of our Family Camps this summer!

Campamento de la Familia

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Regalar a su hijo la experiencia de un campamento de verano será algo que aprecie el resto de su vida. Pero ¿por qué no va un poco más lejos? ¿Por qué no le proporciona a toda su FAMILIA la experiencia del campamento de verano que siempre soñó y la convierte en vacaciones internacionales?

Si alguna vez pensó llevar a su familia a los Estados Unidos para pasar unas vacaciones de ensueño, hacerlo en el Campamento Familiar de America’s Finest Summer Camps ¡es la mejor manera! No sólo está permitiendo que su hijo experimente la emoción y aventura de los viajes internacionales, sino que también incluye un destino final que recordará para siempre.

Las familias que viajan por el mundo se benefician de muchas maneras. Las experiencias compartidas del viaje las vincula y conecta de una manera especial. La preparación de este tipo de viaje requiere trabajo en equipo y las familias que trabajan juntas para realizarlo con éxito se proponen trabajar juntas en otras áreas de sus vidas. Cuando uno viaja al extranjero aprende muchas cosas nuevas, y cuando las familias lo hacen juntas, tienen algo más que las une. Los padres y sus hijos que viajan por el mundo amplían sus horizontes y aprenden a apreciar la diversidad, ya sea cuando miran un mapa, descifran señales desconocidas, hablan un nuevo idioma o prueban un alimento distinto. Viajar juntos como familia permite a los padres darles responsabilidades a sus hijos para ayudarlos a que salgan de su zona de confort, lo cual los expone a experiencias nuevas. Existen estudios que han demostrado que los niños que viajan con sus familias tienen un mejor desempeño en la escuela que aquellos que no lo hacen.

Las varias opciones de actividades en el campamento proporcionan a las familias una gran oportunidad para conectarse entre sí. Hay actividades tanto familiares que requieren que todos trabajen juntos para lograr un objetivo común como actividades individuales apropiadas para la edad para cada uno de los miembros, ya sean niños, adolescentes o adultos. Estas actividades se realizan para fortalecer los lazos entre los miembros de la familia y les proporciona en el futuro ese tipo de recuerdos de anécdotas que comienzan con un “¿Recuerdas cuando fuimos al Campamento Familiar y…?”  Realizar diferentes actividades, programas y eventos proporciona a cada miembro de la familia la oportunidad de explorar cosas que nunca habían hecho juntos y esta experiencia como familia los acerca cada vez más.

Desde comer juntos hasta compartir una cabina, este tiempo con calidad sin la distracción de teléfonos celulares, tareas, redes sociales y horas extra ayuda a cada familia a construir una base sólida. También es frecuente que muchas familias internacionales utilicen al Campamento Familiar como punto de partida para unas vacaciones con estadía más prolongada. Desde el campamento pueden viajar hacia la ciudad de Nueva York, a las Cataratas del Niágara y a las montañas de Pocono. Comienzan su viaje de manera grandiosa al conectarse juntos y recargar sus baterías en el campamento y esto los predispone para unas vacaciones divertidas durante el resto del verano.

Lo que hace tan especial al Campamento Familiar son todas las diferentes familias que participan. Tanto los niños como los adultos hallan nuevos amigos, la mayoría de los cuales nunca habrían conocido si no hubieran venido al campamento. Las familias internacionales se benefician del Campamento Familiar porque es un lugar seguro para conocer una nueva cultura, donde son bienvenidos y donde las personas están muy contentas de recibirlos. Viajar al extranjero puede ser emocionante, pero también da un poco de miedo, y el Campamento Familiar tiene como objetivo quitar esa tensión de estar en un país extranjero permitiendo a las familias interactuar de una manera distinta a la que tienen en casa.

El campamento familiar está diseñado para todo tipo de familias, de diferentes partes del mundo. Es un lugar seguro donde las familias pueden aprender unas de otras, fortalecer sus relaciones, hablar, escuchar y lo más importante, volver a conectarse. Regale a su familia unas vacaciones internacionales donde puedan jugar, explorar y experimentar cosas nuevas con usted a su lado y esto es el mejor regalo que pueda darles. No es sólo una forma divertida de construir el verano sino una oportunidad única que forma el carácter, la autoestima y refuerza los vínculos familiares.

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家庭营 Family Camp

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Giving your child the gift of a sleep-away summer camp experience is one they will cherish for the rest of their lives. But what about kicking it up a notch? Why not treat your entire FAMILY to the summer camp experience of their dreams, and make it an international vacation?

把一次无忧无虑的暑期夏令营经历作为礼物赠与孩子无疑会成为他们回味余生的体验。那么更进一步如何?为什么不带你的整个家庭体验一次他们梦寐以求的夏令营同时也感受一番国际假期呢?

If you’ve ever thought about bringing your family to the United States for a dream vacation, spending it at Family Camp at America’s Finest Summer Camps is the way to do it! Not only are you allowing your child to experience the excitement and adventure of international travel, but also you are including a final destination that they will remember forever.

如果你曾考虑过带你全家到美国度过一次梦幻假期,那么在全美最佳夏令营的家庭野营度过无疑是不二的选择!你不仅能让你的孩子体验激动人心的国际旅行冒险,还能够让他们体验永远难以忘怀的度假胜地。

Families who travel internationally benefit in many ways. The shared experiences of travel bring families together and connects them in a special way. Getting somewhere together takes teamwork, and families who work together to get from point A to point B successfully set themselves up for working together in other areas of their lives. Part of traveling internationally is learning new things, and when families learn together, they have another thing to bond over. Whether it is learning to read a map, decipher unfamiliar road signs, learning a new language or trying a new food, parents and children who travel internationally broaden their horizons and learn to appreciate diversity. Traveling together as a family gives parents the opportunity to give new responsibilities to their children, to help them branch out of their comfort zone, and expose them to new things. Studies have even shown that kids who travel with their families do better in school than those who don’t!

参与国际旅行的家庭在许多方面都能得到收获。共同旅行的经历会让家庭更为团结,以一种特殊的方式将他们凝聚在一起。一起到达某地需要团队合作,而一同从甲地到乙地的家庭能成功地在生活中的其它领域中一起协作。国际旅行的一部分是学习新的东西,当家庭一同学习时,他们就有了一条将他们连接在一起的系带。无论是学习阅读地图,辨别不熟悉的路标,学习一种新的语言还是尝试找到新的食物,进行国际旅行的家长和孩子能开拓他们的视野并且学习如何欣赏多元化。作为家庭一起旅行让家长有机会给他们的孩子新的责任感,帮助他们跨出自己的舒适领域,接触新的事物。研究甚至表明,那些和家庭一起旅行的孩子能在学校表现地更好!

The many options for things to do at camp give families a great opportunity to connect. There are family activities that require everyone work together towards a common goal, and individual, age appropriate activities from everyone from the little Tykes to teens and adults. These activities are made to strengthen the bonds between family members, and to provide a lifetime of memories and stories that start with “Remember when we went to Family Camp and….?”  Having access to so many different activities, programs and events gives every family member a chance to explore things they’ve never done, and experiencing this as a family brings everyone closer.

在夏令营可选的众多活动让家庭有了绝佳的机会增强互动。有一些家庭活动要求每个人都向着同一个目标努力,同时也有适合各个年龄层的个人活动,从儿童、青少年到成人不等。这些活动都被设计成加强家庭成员之间的纽带,提供一生难忘的回忆,可以在年老时以“记得当年我们在家庭夏令营的时候……”开始讲述的故事。如此多不同的活动、项目和晚会让每个家庭成员都有机会探索他们从未做过的事情,而作为一个家庭体验这个会让每个人彼此更贴近。

From eating together to sharing a cabin, this quality time spent without the distraction of cellphones, homework, social media and overtime helps to build a solid foundation for every family that comes to camp. Many international families use Family Camp as a starting point for an even longer vacation. From camp, they head to NYC, Niagara Falls and the Pocono Mountains. They get their trip off to a great start by really connecting together and recharging their batteries, and it sets them up for a fun filled vacation for the rest of the summer.

从共同饮食到共享住宿,这段珍贵的时光将不被手机、作业、社交媒体和超时所打扰,有助于帮助每一个前来野营的家庭建立起坚实的基础。许多国际家庭都将家庭野营作为一个更长假期的起始点。从营地,他们可以前往纽约市、尼亚加拉大瀑布和勃肯诺山脉。他们先真正凝聚到一起为身体充满电之后才开始行程,这个完美的开始能让他们在夏天剩余的时间里度过一个有趣、充实的假期。

The thing that makes Family Camp so special is all of the different families that come to take part in it. Adults and kids alike leave with brand new friends, most of whom they would have never met had they not come to camp. International families benefit from Family Camp because it’s a safe place to learn about a new culture, in a place where they are welcomed and where people are excited to have them. Traveling abroad can be exciting, but also a little scary, and Family Camp aims to take the stress out of being in a new county by allowing families to play in a way they don’t normally get to back home.

让家庭野营如此特别的地方正是前往参加野营的所有不同的家庭。大人和小孩们都能交到新的朋友,如果他们没有来野营大多数可能永远没机会遇到。国际家庭也能够从家庭营地中受益,因为这是安全学习新文化的地方,而且他们会在此受到热忱的欢迎。在国外旅行很让人激动,但同时也会让人有些害怕,家庭野营旨在排除你处于陌生国度而产生的压力,让家庭可以以不同于在家的方式尽享其乐。

Family Camp is made for all types of families, from all different parts of the world. It is a safe place where families can learn more about each other, strengthen relationships, talk, listen and most importantly, reconnect. Giving your family the gift of an international vacation where they can play, explore and experience new things with you by their side is the best gift you can give them. It’s not only a fun way to build the summer, but a once in a lifetime opportunity that builds character, self-esteem, and family bonds.

家庭营地适合来自全球各地所有类型的家庭。它很安全,家庭可以更多地了解彼此,加强关系,交谈、倾听而且更重要地是重新建立起纽带。送给你全家一次国际假期作为礼物吧,他们可以在你的陪伴下尽情地游玩、探索和体验新鲜事物,而这就是你能给他们的最好礼物。这不仅仅是让整个夏天变得有趣的方式,还是一次终生难得的机会来培养性格、自尊和家庭纽带。

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Camp de la Famille

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Donner l’occasion à votre enfant de faire l’expérience d’un camp d’été, voilà un souvenir qu’il chérira le reste de sa vie. Mais pourquoi pas monter d’un cran ? Pourquoi n’offrez-vous pas à toute votre FAMILLE l’occasion de vivre une expérience de rêve en passant des vacances à l’étranger ?

Si vous avez déjà pensé emmener votre famille aux États-Unis pour passer des vacances de rêve, venez le faire au Camp des familles dans les meilleurs camps d’été américains ! Car, non seulement vous permettez à vos enfants de vivre l’excitation et l’aventure d’un voyage à l‘étranger, mais vous y incluez une destination finale dont ils se souviendront toute sa vie.

Les familles qui voyagent à l’étranger en bénéficient de bien des façons. Partager l’expérience d’un voyage réunit les familles et les lie de manière particulière. Se rendre quelque part demande un travail d’équipe et les familles qui le font pour aller d’un point A à un point B se préparent à travailler ensemble dans d’autres domaines de leurs vies. Voyager à l’étranger permet d’apprendre de nouvelles choses et quand cela se fait en famille, cela crée des liens supplémentaires. Que ce soit apprendre à lire une carte, déchiffrer des panneaux routiers différents, apprendre une autre langue ou essayer de nouveaux mets, cela ouvre de nouveaux horizons pour les parents et les enfants qui voyagent à l’étranger et apprécient ainsi la diversité. Lorsqu’une famille voyage ensemble, les parents peuvent donner de nouvelles responsabilités à leurs enfants pour les aider à sortir de leur zone de sécurité et s’exposer à de nouvelles choses. Les recherches ont même démontré que les enfants qui voyagent en famille réussissent plus à l’école que les autres !

Les nombreuses activités à faire dans un camp donnent aux familles une belle occasion de se lier. Certaines activités familiales exigent que tous travaillent ensemble à atteindre un but commun et il y a des activités individuelles selon l’âge pour les bambins, les ados et les adultes. Ces activités permettent de resserrer les liens familiaux et offrent une foule de souvenirs et d’histoires qui commenceront tous par «Tu te rappelles quand on était au Camp des familles ?…» Grâce à ces nombreuses et diverses activités, tous les membres de la famille ont l’occasion d’explorer des choses qu’ils n’ont jamais faites et le vivre en tant que famille rapproche tout le monde.

Manger ensemble, partager un chalet, ce temps de qualité passé sans être distrait par les portables, les devoirs, les réseaux sociaux ou le surtemps permet d’établir une fondation solide à toutes les familles qui viennent aux camps. Bien des familles étrangères utilisent le camp des familles comme point de départ de vacances plus longues. Du Camp, elles vont à New York, aux chutes du Niagara et aux montagnes Pocono. Elles démarrent bien leur voyage en se retrouvant et en rechargeant leurs batteries, ce qui leur permet de passer des vacances agréables pour le reste de l’été.

Qu’est-ce qui rend le Camp des familles si spécial? Ce sont les familles qui viennent y participer. Adultes et enfants se font de nouveaux amis, qu’ils n’auraient jamais rencontrés s’ils n’étaient pas venus. Les familles étrangères profitent du Camp car  elles découvrent une nouvelle culture dans un endroit sécuritaire où elles sont les bienvenues et les gens les accueillent à bras ouverts. Voyager à l’étranger peut être excitant mais aussi un peu effrayant et le Camp des familles vise à soulager le stress d’être dans un nouveau pays en permettant aux familles de jouer comme elles ne font généralement pas chez elles.

Le Camp des familles  convient à tous les types de familles, de partout dans le monde. C’est une place sûre où les familles en apprennent plus sur leurs membres, renforcent leurs liens et surtout, se retrouvent. Offrir à votre famille des vacances à l’étranger dans un endroit où elle peut jouer, explorer et vivre de nouvelles choses à vos côtés est le meilleur cadeau que vous puissiez lui faire. Non seulement c’est une façon agréable de passer l’été mais c’est aussi une occasion unique qui forme le caractère, renforce l’estime de soi et resserre les liens familiaux.

 

Looking for some more Family Time? Sign up for one of our Family Camps this summer!

Don’t Yuck Someone Else’s Yum

 

As an adult, there is nothing more annoying that coming across someone who feels that their opinion is the only opinion and that everyone who doesn’t agree with them is wrong. It’s hard to form and keep friendships with people who don’t appreciate or respect the difference of other people. This is why at camp, we implement the “Don’t Yuck Someone Else’s Yum” guidelines, which helps campers appreciate and respect the likes and dislikes of other campers.

 

Teaching campers to be respectful of the opinions of others, even when they don’t agree, is just another way going to camp builds character and teaches valuable social skills. Campers are bound to come in contact with people who have different opinions and preferences from them around camp, and counselors encourage campers to embrace the difference and learn to disagree is a respectful way.  This helps prepare campers for the real world and sets them up to be tolerant and accepting members of society.

 

Campers learn that everyone has different likes and dislikes, but that is not helpful or necessary to make others feel bad for their opinions or preferences. Campers who are made to feel bad or embarrassed about their personal preferences are less likely to speak up or say what is on their mind, which is not something that we want to happen at camp, ever. We want to create a safe place where every camper can express himself or herself and have their voices heard without the fear of rejection or judgment. The “Don’t Yuck Someone Else’s Yum,” rule at camp helps to create this safe environment, and teaches campers the value of diversity in the people around them.

 

Teaching campers not to be negative or judgmental about the preferences of others is also helping them learn proper etiquette and manners. Whether it’s at mealtime or any other time around camp when opinions and preferences are expressed, campers are practicing how to be polite and well-rounded individuals, which will undoubtedly transfer over to their world at home.

 

If your child gets home and you turns their nose up to the delicious broccoli and Brussels sprout dinner you’ve prepared, you can kindly remind me of what they learned at camp, and say “Hey, Don’t Yuck My Yum!” We can’t guarantee they’ll eat the veggies, but it will help them be respectful of the different opinions and tastes of the people around them.

 

Being Successful at Camp

Introduce your child to sleepaway camp gradually.

It’s probably no surprise that successful sleepaway camp summers begin with successful day camp summers. Day camps provide younger children with the opportunity to experience everything camp has to offer while still allowing them the comfort of sleeping at home at night. It’s no surprise, therefore, that a lot of parents choose to gradually prepare their children for sleepaway camp by first sending them to day camp. Although day camp is not a prerequisite, by any means, for sleepaway camp, if your child is still young enough to reap the benefits of day camp prior to his or her first summer at sleepaway camp, now is a good time to enroll. Likewise, let your child’s maturity level, not his or her age, serve as your guide for determining when he or she is ready for sleepaway camp. Some children are ready for sleepaway camp at 7 or 8 years old. Others may need another year or two. It really depends on the individual child. It is important, regardless of at what age you feel your child is ready, that you do not send him or her to sleepaway camp before he or she is ready.

Set goals for the summer.

Arriving at camp with goals in mind helps children adapt more quickly to the camp environment and remain focused throughout the summer. Goals also serve as a touchstone on those days when campers need a bit of extra encouragement and provide a level of measure for progress between arrival and departure days. As well, they are the perfect conversation or letter starter for phone calls and letters and can ultimately help your child relate a sense of accomplishment to his or her summer camp experience.

Send your child to camp with an open mind and an open attitude.

Try not to focus too heavily on specific experiences or expectations. While it’s good to have goals, it’s equally beneficial not to focus too heavily on one area of camp as the measure of a successful summer. Encourage your children to try new things at camp. Emphasize the possibilities of the coming summer rather than the shortcomings of the previous one. Remind your children that often the best camp moments are the ones that aren’t anticipated.

Pack adequately.

Most view packing as a chore to be completed as quickly and painlessly as possible. But success at camp begins with being properly prepare and being properly prepared means being properly packed. Packing, therefore, is not a task to take lightly. Review your camp’s packing list and make sure your child has the recommended amount of each item. Pack for comfort and fun. Your children will engage in activities from early in the morning until late at night each day. Their clothes will get dirty. It’s important that what makes it into your children’s camp bags allows them freedom of comfort through movement in a variety of sports and other activities while leaving you room to review photos of paint stains, ice cream stains, slushie stains, icing stains, dirt stains, wax stains, marker stains, water stains, and just about anything else you can think of stains without cringing or having nightmares about the cleaning bill. And don’t forget to pack “evening attire” (aka fun stuff). Camp doesn’t end after dinner. Every night brings new and exciting special events and evening activities, pretty much all which promote the silly, whacky, crazy, outrageous, and fabulous. Aside from clothing, sturdy age and size appropriate sporting equipment is also key to your campers’ usurping the most of their camping experience.

Emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition.

There is food a plenty at camp. In addition to camp meals, there are snacks, birthday parties, trips to the canteen, the local ice cream stand, pizza place, cooking classes, etc. While menus are designed to provide campers with the fuel to keep them going on busy days and camp staff are present to mediate at meal and snack times, it’s important to emphasize the need to balance treats with proper nutrition and to encourage your children to engage in camp activities that involve physical conditioning and exercise as well as those that are a bit more laid back and relaxed. Also stress the importance of staying hydrated and invest in a good water bottle.

Send your campers to camp with the right attitude toward authority figures.

Collectively, the camp staff takes on a parental role during the summer. They are, in effect, you while your child is at camp. Explaining this to your campers lays the groundwork for a smooth transition of authority from the parental arm to the camp one and deters camper/staff tensions during the summer.

Remind your campers that they may not accomplish all of their goals in a single summer, and that’s okay.

In context of a full year, summer camp takes place within a very brief, concentrated period of time. Campers easily become tempted to overindulge or may become overwhelmed when they are unable to keep up with their own expectations. Remind your children that summer camp is a special place intended to provide them with the opportunity to relax away from the normal hustle and bustle of everyday life. Encourage them to enjoy those things that make camp unique, such as the rural setting, camp specific activities, or exclusive facilities. Stress that sleepaway camp is a singular tradition through which they can create memories and make friends that will last a lifetime. And if they fall short of any of their goals this summer, for all but the oldest campers, there is always next summer.

Review your camp’s camper policies and behavioral expectations with your children.

Your camp will provide you with a list of policies and guidelines that outline behavioral expectations for campers as well as their families. Review these carefully with your campers so that they understand what is expected of them prior to arriving at camp. Stress that the camp must put such rules into place in order to create a fun environment in which everyone is and feels safe.

Encourage your child to make at least one new friend over the summer.

For some children, making friends is as easy as waking up in the morning. For others, the task is a little more daunting. Stress that the openness of the camp environment creates an atmosphere of acceptance that is a little bit different from school, where social structures tend to be a bit more rigid. And that camp friends are special friends with whom they will always have camp in common.

Let your children know that it’s okay to have a less than perfect day and that sometimes they may miss home, but that’s no reason to pack their bags and call it quits.

It’s not unusual for campers to arrive at camp with such high expectations for the summer that one bad day, one small scuffle with a camp friend or bunkmate, one misunderstood communication with a counselor can leave them feeling discouraged and calling or writing home in tears. It’s also not unusual, particularly for younger campers, to get a bit homesick every now and then. Be honest with your children. Let them know that every day might not be the best day ever and that it’s okay to miss home every now and then. But that doesn’t mean that they’re having a bad summer or that they can’t turn things around. Remind them that they choose their attitude every day. If they let one very small moment become a big one that defines their summer, they’re robbing themselves of lots of opportunities to experience something really great that may completely turn what started out as a bad day–or even a bad summer–around.