4 Signs Your Child is Ready for Overnight Camp

May 1, 2020, 09:51 AM by Emersyn Drent

Remember back in the day when you were gathered around a camp fire roasting marshmallows, singing camp songs and laughing with your friends during the summer? Remember that feeling of joy and excitement upon making new best friends?

Those were the days. Now that you‘re older and wiser, don‘t you want your kids to enjoy a classic summer experience? Now it‘s their turn to tell ghost stories in their bunks and stargaze at the top of a mountain.

But how do you know if they‘re ready or not?

Taylor Jordan, director of YMCA Camp Santa Maria, an overnight camp situated in the mountains near beautiful Bailey, CO, has some insight on how to recognize if your child is up for this new adventure.

“Being ready for summer camp isn‘t just about age,” he said. “Some kids are ready for a new adventure earlier than others and that‘s OK!”

Here are four signs to look for to know when they're ready to attend overnight camp:

1. They‘re showing interest in camp.

If your child initiates the conversation of wanting to go to overnight camp, they have already assessed it for themselves and it is best to trust them and that they are ready. Although it can be difficult to understand their intentions, if they start to show an interest and ask questions about camp, they are probably ready to pack their bags and try something new this summer.


2. They‘ve had successful sleepovers.

Another good indicator, according to Taylor, is if your child has slept away from home before and not had any problems. If they are loving slumber parties, they are probably ready. On the other hand, if sleepovers and staying away from home for a night are still a little scary, then waiting until next year might be a better option.

3. They are comfortable with new people and experiences.

In order to have a fun and successful first time at sleep-away camp, your child must be comfortable meeting new people, making new friends, experiencing new activities and discovering new scenery. If they tend to be welcoming to new experiences, they are likely ready to expand their horizons.

4. They follow the rules.

It‘s important that your child is good at following rules when coming to camp, because there will be many camp counselors and adults leading the group and safety is their highest priority. If your kids are good listeners and rule followers at home and at school, this is a great sign that they are ready to branch out and try summer resident camp.

As Taylor also pointed out, even though your child might be ready for an overnight camp, homesickness is very common and should be expected. The camp counselors go through extensive training to learn how to best deal with homesickness, which can be scary for kids. Counselors can help by finding something that your child enjoys and allowing them to experience it, which can help distract them from their worries and help them feel more connected. 

If you decide that your child isn‘t quite ready for resident camp yet, one of the YMCA‘s day camps could be a better option. Campers will still have the opportunity to participate in activities like archery, hiking, games, art, camp songs, color wars and more in a relaxed environment. After each day, campers will get to go home and relive the day's adventures with their family. Whichever form of camp you choose, you'll be able to share in your camper's excitement and relive the good old days! 

Follow us on Facebook to connect with more parents, or visit our website to find more information regarding overnight camp and day camps.