Preparing kids for summer camp: turning anxiety into excitement

MADISON – Summer vacation is underway for students across Southern Wisconsin and for many kids, that means one thing: camp.

It’s not very common for a kid to come home from camp saying they had a horrible time.  Still, the first summer away from home can be intimidating, overwhelming, and downright scary. So before you pack their duffel bags and put them on a bus or plane this summer, try and turn their anxiety into excitement.

“You want to get them as excited as possible,” said Andy Bachmann, director of Camp Highlands for Boys in Sayner, WI. “So talk about the camping trips they’ll take, the activities they’re going to be doing, and how this summer will be different than any summer experience they might have had before. Chances are good your kid is going to fall in love with camp almost immediately.”

Bachmann also suggested sitting down with your camper to look at camp videos and pictures so they can get an idea of where they’ll be spending a few days or weeks. Reviewing the camp’s daily schedule can also help them know what to expect during a typical day away from home. It’s also a good idea to make sure your camper has all the information they need to contact you, whether it be a list of phone numbers, or stationery and an address list, depending on the camp’s phone policy.