Tips from The Trenches

. April 1, 2014.
Trenches-header

Banish the words “I’m bored” from your child’s vocabulary this summer!  Enroll them in a Summer Day Camp where they will make new friends and have lots of fun.

Candice Billau, mom to Phoenix, 16, and Ambrelle, 10, and Koralynn, 6, of Ottawa Lake, MI

What do your kids enjoy the most about summer camp?

Getting outdoors and being able to help others. Ambrelle won the Torch Award last summer, and that’s given to two campers from each group who demonstrate the core values of the YMCA: honesty, responsibility, and faith. 

What do you make sure to pack with you kids when they leave for camp?

Lots of stuff! Really, just the basics–like clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, swimsuits–because the camp provides everything else. 

How do you know that they are ready to leave you and attend overnight summer camp?

Phoenix has been going to overnight camp since the very first year of second grade. He absolutely loves camp, and every year we took Phoenix, Ambrelle would ask, “Is it my turn? Is it my turn?” Now Koralynn asks, “Is it my turn?” The best way to know if they are ready for overnight camp though: they can go and spend the night somewhere else. The earlier they spend the night somewhere, usually the easier it is for them when they’re a little bit older.

 

Lindsey Brown, mom to (and photographer of) Hannah,15, Emmah, 8, Stephen, 6, and Savannah, 3, of Whitehouse

What do your kids enjoy the most about summer camp?

I think just getting out of the house and doing something outside. Honestly, I work a lot from home, and I think they enjoy getting away from their siblings and meeting new kids. They feel independent when they are away from us and doing something they really like on their own.

How do you know that they are ready to leave you and attend summer camp?

To be 100% honest, I don’t really know; I just try!  My kids have never been big “criers” who freak out when we leave them; they really just enjoy doing their own thing.  So basically I send them to camp when I think I need a break!  Oh, and they need to be potty-trained for sure.  

What do you make sure to pack with your kids when they leave for camp?

I just follow the list of items that they are told to pack. I am a rule follower, so I make sure to get whatever is on the list: water, sunblock, bug spray, utensils for cooking their own food…stuff like that.

Stephanie Mahoney, mom to Ian, 14, Daniel, 10, and Aidan, 6, of Sylvania

What are your favorite memories from summer day camp?

The boys come home every day wanting to go back; they can’t wait for this year to do it again. They build friendships and they’re friends with the kids from camp, even when they just see them around town, they all say “hi” to each other. The camp has so much: BB guns, archery, swimming

What do your kids enjoy the most about summer camp?

For Ian, I think it’s spending time with his friends. They have different adventures every day, and it’s all kids, no adults around.  Daniel: besides the Trading Post and getting candy everyday? Archery and BB guns. Aidan would probably tell you he hated every day, but he came home happy. His favorite part is probably going swimming and hanging out with his buddies.

How do you know that they are ready to leave you and go off for camp?

I just knew they had to get out of the house! The summer before they were bored, stayed in the house a lot…and then there was the sibling rivalry.  We didn’t have anything to do; they watched a lot of TV.  That’s how I knew they were ready for camp the next summer.What are your favorite memories from summer day camp? The boys come home every day wanting to go back; they can’t wait for this year to do it again. They build friendships and they’re friends with the kids from camp, even when they just see them around town, they all say “hi” to each other. The camp has so much: BB guns, archery, swimming

What do your kids enjoy the most about summer camp?

For Ian, I think it’s spending time with his friends. They have different adventures every day, and it’s all kids, no adults around.  Daniel: besides the Trading Post and getting candy everyday? Archery and BB guns. Aidan would probably tell you he hated every day, but he came home happy. His favorite part is probably going swimming and hanging out with his buddies.

How do you know that they are ready to leave you and go off for camp?

I just knew they had to get out of the house! The summer before they were bored, stayed in the house a lot…and then there was the sibling rivalry.  We didn’t have anything to do; they watched a lot of TV.  That’s how I knew they were ready for camp the next summer.

Ellen Rodriguez, mom to Eddie, 9, and Amelia, 2, of Toledo

What does your son enjoy the most about summer camp?

I think it was learning everything they taught him at the camp, and also…interacting with other kids who have the same interests as him.

How did you decide upon your camp choice?

I was looking for something that he would like and that would fit his interests. The time and the length of the camp didn’t really matter because I work from home; I didn’t need a 9 to 5 camp.

Do you do anything to prepare for the anticipated homesickness?

No, Eddie is very independent. He was so excited about going that there was no homesickness. When he was much younger, he did a little bit, but once he warmed up to the space or started playing with friends, he got distracted and wasn’t homesick anymore.