It’s Summer Camp Time!

By Rebecca Vitkus

For many kids this summer, camp is where they’re headed. It is a place to create lifelong friendships and memories that last for decades to come. there are many options and activities to chose from, so start planning now!

The Day Damp Experience

When parents have great memories of childhoods spent singing campfire songs, it’s hard to understand the reluctance their kids may have about going away for the summer. The decision of whether or not to send a kid to summer camp can be incredibly stressful and often lasts for years. So what’s a parent to do when a kid just won’t go?

If you’re an anxious parent with an anxious child, the best bet is to wait until you’re both more comfortable. Try introducing your child to a day camp so he can meet new friends and experience what it’s like, just for a few hours. Let him know it’s fine to be nervous, but try not to let any of your own anxiety show.

To encourage your child to try out a new camp, involve him in the selection process. Find camp environments that will interest him, and give him power to choose his own experience. Take him shopping for new camp clothes and invite his questions, doing your best to put off any worries he may have.

You know your child best, so use your instincts to determine when, if ever, is the right time for sleep-away camp, and remember to consider day camp as an alternative route.

Fun Facts

– The tradition of summer camp dates back more than 150 years to 1861.
Research shows that interaction with nature helps reduce stress in children and teaches them to appreciate and sustain the environment.
– There are camps available for all ages, including family camp groups, camps for single adults and camps for senior citizens.
Research shows that 74 percent of campers tried a new activity at camp that previously scared them.
Summer camp has been beneficial in teaching manners and etiquette to children in a large group environment.
Camps often focus on healthy eating and are continuously exploring new food options, including for those with allergy specific or vegetarian diets.
– Some studies show that students who attend summer camp, even those without a specific academic focus, show less of a learning loss when they begin the new school year.

Overnight Camp List

With all the excitement of a summer at sleep-away camp, it’s easy to forget something important! Make sure your children have all the necessities before you send them off to camp.

– Bedding and linens (beach and bath towels)
– Clothes for all weather (heat, cold, rain) and activities (bathing suits, pajamas)
– A journal and pens or pencils
– Plenty of stamped, addressed envelopes for writing letters home
– Sneakers, shower shoes and extra socks
– Toiletries and lip balm
– Insect repellent and sunscreen
– Flashlight and water bottle
– Medications or other health needs
– Cash, as you see fit


Summer Safety

Bug Bites

Though they are annoying, most bites from mosquitoes or ants can be treated with an over-thecounter cream or ointment. The best way to prevent the bites is to wear bug spray on a daily basis. If your child is allergic to the bites, seek medical attention immediately.

Bee Stings

If a bee stings your child, scrape the stinger away rather than pulling it out. Pulling out the stinger will only release more venom into the skin.


Instead of listening to myths like using petroleum jelly or a hot match to remove a tick, use simple tweezers instead. Grasp the tick firmly and as close to the skin as possible, then pull the tick’s body back. Don’t worry if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin, as the infectious parts have been removed. Cleanse the area of the body with an antiseptic after the removal.


Hours in the sun often cause sunburn, even when sunscreen is used. The best treatment for sunburn is an aloe gel or moisturizer applied directly to the skin. If that’s not available, use a cold, damp compress on the affected area. Make sure your child drinks plenty of water, and if the pain is severe, ibuprofen may help. Be sure to tell your child not to touch the blisters.

Water Safety

When at the beach or pool, always have children swim under the supervision of a lifeguard, and never let a child swim alone. In Florida, water safety is extra important, so enroll your children in swim classes as early as possible so they will always be prepared in case of a water emergency. Life jackets can be helpful, but never rely on them alone for your child’s safety.

If your child has any allergies or medical needs, speak to a nurse upon registration.

Packing a Healthy Camp Lunch

Keep kids healthy, hydrated and happy at summer camp with these yummy lunch options.

  • Veggie sticks
  • Rice cakes
  • Apple slices
  • Raisins
  • Hummus
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Pretzels
  • Oranges
  • Peanut butter and apples
  • Graham crackers and Nutella
  • Chips and salsa
  • Fresh fruit cups
  • Applesauce
  • Nuts
  • Granola bars
  • Cheese sticks

– Always pack an ice pack, hand wipes and disposable silverware.
– Avoid mayo based foods.

Keep In Touch!

Some of the best friendships in a child’s life develop through hours spent at camp, so it’s important for campers to stay connected. In the world of social media and instant messaging, there’s no excuse for lost friendships just because the kids live far away. Connect with the other campers’ parents online to stay in contact. Even better, encourage the kids to write to each other, and help them send mail to their new pen pals. After all, everyone loves getting a letter!