Summer Camp Handbook




       The 260 campers around the fire fell suddenly silent.  Some shifted on the wooden benches where generations of campers had gathered before them.  Others looked intently at the flames, whose orange light danced on their young faces.  The session was over, and only the candlelight ceremony Email Us About Sponsoring This Pageremained before the campers would pack their sleeping bags and their memories and head home.  Some would remember the cabin leader who sailed the lake with them on a perfect summer afternoon.  Others would remember the first bullseye they hit on the archery range.  A few recalled sitting with their friends watching the sunset deepen from pink to crimson.  One by one, they blew out their candles, but none could ever extinguish the magic of their summer camp experience.

     For more than 140 years, parents have given their children the gift of an overnight camp stay.  But as with any investment in your child's development, it's best when you select and prepare for it thoughtfully.  The Summer Camp Handbook is what you need to do just that, and help your child get the most out of camp.
    Inside this book, you'll learn:

  • What makes overnight camp special
  • How to know when the time is right for overnight camp
  • The key differences between traditional, specialty, and special needs camps
  • How to decide on the best location and length of stay
  • What kind of activity structure suits your child's style
  • Where to find the most up-to-date information on overnight camps
  • How to evaluate promotional materials that camps send to you
  • Important questions to ask the camp director
  • How to find a camp that matches your child's interests and skills
  • How parents and children can manage homesickness
  • What issues you should discuss with the camp nurse or doctor
  • Tips for matter what kind of camp you choose
  • How to have smooth opening and closing days of camp
  • What a "care package" is and what makes a good one
  • The best ways parents and children can keep in touch during camp
  • Strategies kids can use to maximize their fun at camp

    You wouldn't take a road trip without a map.  You wouldn't start college without researching different schools.  You wouldn't even go on vacation without first learning about various destinations.  So you see, it's silly for kids to leave home for a week or more to go to overnight camp unless they know what to expect, how to maximize their fun, and how to deal with any problems that might arise.


    The Summer Camp Handbook is different from any other camp resource book or World Wide Web page in four important ways:

  1. The authors are camping professionals who still work at overnight camps.  Together, we have more than 45 years of camping experience.  We've both been campers, cabin leaders, instructors, and senior staff members.  We know what works and what doesn't work.  We know what kids like and don't like.
  2. The book is based on years of our research on the overnight camp experience.  Because we are also academics, we like to back up what we say with hard data.  The wisdom in this book is based on our findings about what children and parents can do to enhance their camp experience.
  3. We'll give you insider tips on how to select, prepare for, and enjoy overnight camp, but we won't list every camp in the country.  That list changes every year.  Instead, we'll share our unique step-by-step guide to selecting the best camp for you.  We'll show you how to evaluate the most up-to-date information available from camps, the Internet, the library, and even your friends.
  4. The Summer Camp Handbook is a book for families.  Anyone in the family is welcome to read any of the chapters.  However, we wrote Parts I-IV especially for parents, because they're the ones who do most of the searching and paying for camps.  In Part V, you'll find a chapter written just for kids, plus a lot of helpful extras for families.  Throughout the book, you'll find many helpful checklists for parents and a sprinkling of fun text boxes for kids.
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