Preparation for the summer teenage camp
In the first publication on April 16th, we talked about the importance of finding the right Camp for your child. In a second step we would like to talk about how to prepare the departure of your son/daughter to the summer camp.
If the summer teenage camp takes place abroad it is important to find the right flight. Please be careful with low cost flights. Ryanair for example does not transport minors who are younger than 16 years of age. Easyjet can be booked from 14 years of age. Neither have a service for unaccompanied minors which other companies offer for abot EUR. 50,–.
It’s always a good idea to foresee any potential problems that may arise, especially if your child has dietary restrictions, particular fears (such as the dark), is very shy around strangers, or if they have specific routines that they probably won’t be able to continue at camp. Talking through the differences between camp and home will help your teen feel prepared and gives them confidence, making it less likely that they will suddenly face something unexpected.
Our experience with one of the greatest fear of teenagers is that they are the oldest and are only surrounded by younger kids. This should actually not happen but of course one will be the oldest and one the youngest. What ages are concerned it has to be considered that sometimes 15 year-olds are much more mature than 16 -17 year-olds. In most camps sleeping arrangements are always made for teens of the same age group.
Also explain before the departure that the adults working in a summer teenage camp are used to working with teenagers so that whatever question, fears or homesickness may arise, they can be confidentially discussed with staff members. They are their family during the teens’s stay and only want the best for each member of the group.
Your child may have never shared a space with someone else, and certainly not with strangers, so give them the head’s up about social niceties when in close proximity of others, such as picking up after themselves, organizing a space for their own belongings, and making sure that other people’s possessions (and personal space) are respected and left alone. The advantage of this experience is that the teens make lots of new friends, because at camp they learn how to be a good friend and finally for no other reason than the one that they sleep together, eat together, learn languages together and undertake activities together.
It is also a good idea to encourage children to help pack for summer camp, asking them which clothes they’d prefer to take with them, and offering some valuable advice about what is practical, and would perhaps be better off left at home. Most summer camps send a list « what to bring » which can facilitate the packing. Furthermore laundry service is generally offered in every camp so that maybe it is not necessary to bring too much clothes.
Make sure your child knows how to remain in touch with you, but carefully check the regulations of the particular summer teenage camp regarding telephone calls, for example. For the teen’s sake parents should not call daily because at the end of the day a summer camp is a viable way of letting the child become who she/he wants to be and maybe reach more independence even if this means for parents not to hear the voice of their child every day. Here we do not talk about special cases or emergencies. This is general advice only.