10 Questions Every Camp Parent Should Ask
Spring is here! It’s finally time to start thinking about the summer and leaving the winter mittens behind. As you prepare for your child’s summer camp experience there are certain things you are probably curious about and questions you might have! While you are always welcome to call and chat, we thought it would be helpful to explain the 10 questions every parent should ask.
- Why send my child to a Christian camp? If you are reading this, you are most likely thinking about their first camp experience. Moose River Outpost is a place for teens and adults to grow, to learn, and to press against the outer boundaries of their own potential. Moose River Outpost features programs that build godly men and women. These programs center on adventure—not simply for the thrill of it, but for the value of these life lessons. But let’s be honest: Everyone could go for a thrill now and then too.
- Is camp safe for my camper? Moose River Outpost is a member of the American Camping Association and goes through a peer review once every five years to ensure that we are running camp as safely and as close to best practice in our industry as possible. Some camp activities have inherent risk as a part of the activity and we do our very best to mitigate those risks. But we also believe in stretching ourselves to do new things. We do these things with the best safety equipment, in small class sizes, with trained staff, and at an appropriate level of challenge for the participants.
- Is Moose River Outpost rustic? No! Many parents assume that since we are in a remote location that we are rustic…but we are not! Cabins are modern log cabins with nice wooden bunks and bathrooms in them. This is not the original Parent Trap film with rustic cabins. Check out our virtual tour for a look inside one of our cabins. Our camper cabins are all the same and look just like the one featured in the virtual tour.
- Are campers allowed to have cell phones? No! Great question, and it’s not because we want to punish them. Your kids’ time at camp is meant to be spent unplugging from all of the “stuff” they experience outside of camp. The news, the peer pressure, the scary times. At camp, we get to spend our days in God’s beautiful creation, screen time only takes away from that.
- Do campers get home sick? Sometimes, but truly not often. I’m sure everyone is worried about their kids, that’s normal! We experience far more “camper sick” parents than home sick kids. You are going to miss your kids, but they are going to be having an amazing time. Sure, they will miss you, but we don’t experience a lot of lingering home-sickness because we work hard to get them engaged in the program and making friends.
- What happens if my child gets homesick? On day 3 after camp starts you might get a letter in the mail saying they are miserable and want to come home. This is sad, and as a parent, it hurts. But this letter was most likely written on the first night. The first night away from their bed, their pets, their parents and their favorite stuffed animals. Your kid is nervous about what tomorrow looks like, especially if it’s their first time at camp. The good news? The next morning, only a few hours after that letter was mailed, they are at a breakfast that was professionally cooked for them, they have signed up for activities and they are having an absolutely amazing time! They have already started talking to their cabin mates and they don’t want to leave anymore. When you call worried, we will check on them and let you know how they are doing.
- If they don’t have their phone, how can we communicate with them? Letters! Handwritten letters to your campers. Campers will be excited to read about what you’re doing at home. Mail is a big deal and campers look forward to reading their letters later in the day. For us parents, there is something nostalgic about writing letters. For campers who are younger, this is novel and exciting. We also have a service called BunkNotes we use where you can email a note to your camper every day if you like.
- What if they want to write back? Great question! We encourage your campers to write to you. Here’s some questions for you, though. Do they know your address, your zip code and how all that information fits on an envelope? Some parents fill out envelopes for themselves with their campers while they are still home, so their campers can write home easily. We try to go through all the mail to make sure the stamp is in the right place and the address is legible and complete, but there is a lot of outgoing mail, and sometimes the information appears correct and isn’t. Help them prepare for camp by working through the envelopes with them if they are new to mailing letters.
- What should I pack for my camper? Probably less than you think. Often parents pack a ton of clothes, and the campers wear their favorite stuff more times than they would at home. A lot of clothing goes back home never worn. It’s easier to have your camper involved in the packing, make sure they want to wear what you are packing. Make sure they have good rain gear, closed toe shoes, bug spray, sunscreen and a flashlight. A separate grooming kit that they can take to the washroom with them is also a camp essential, instead of fumbling with a separate holder for soap, toothbrush and toothpaste.
- How can I help prepare my camper for camp? Parents know their kids best and can be their best resource in getting ready for a session at Moose River Outpost. Some kids will need coaching on a successful first night away from home. Maybe have a trusted family member or friend host your camper for an overnight if they have never been to a sleepover. Some campers will need reassurance that they will make friends at camp. Reminding them of times they have done this successfully in the past, maybe at church or school, will help give them confidence. Teaching kids to advocate for themselves is a part of functioning well when parents aren’t around. Give them some cash and send them into a store location you are familiar with to buy something on their own or find a creative way for them to speak up for themselves as practice. Whatever your child needs to prepare for sleep away camp, you as the parent are their best resource to help them prepare!