Sleepaway camp is like a right of passage for so many young teenage girls. It’s their first opportunity to get out of the house and find their independence while still remaining in a safe environment, surrounded by other girls in the same position as them.
You’ve probably found yourself here because your daughter won’t stop talking about going to sleepaway camp, but you just can’t seem to figure out if she is really, truly ready.
Well, we’re here to help you figure that out. Because even though this is a huge transition for your daughter, it is also a huge transition for you as a parent and we want to help ease your mind.
Are You Ready?
First thing’s first, we need to get the obvious out of the way. You came here to figure out if your daughter is ready, but we can’t make any sudden moves until we determine if YOU are ready.
Every camp is different, but often, sleepaway camps leave little room for technology which means minimal update texts to Mom and Dad.
For example, Camp Ak-O-Mak is considered “unplugged” (no cell phones, no laptops). Our campers train in a beautiful, wilderness setting and live in wooden cabins without electricity.
In a case like this, you want to ensure that as a parent, you are ready for your child to be gone for the entire summer. Once you decide that you’re okay with a couple old-fashioned snail mail updates, then we can move on to figuring out if your daughter is ready.
How Do I Know If My Daughter is Ready?
Trying to figure out if they’re really ready for a girls sleepaway camp can be a difficult task, but there are a few check-list items we suggest starting with. If your child is typically good when sleeping over at a friend’s house or even staying over at their grandparent’s, then that usually means they are okay with being in a different environment.
The next thing you want to determine is their ability to take care of themselves. If they’re independent and handle everyday tasks on their own without assistance like keeping up with personal hygiene, making themselves food, or cleaning up after their own messes then you know they’ll be okay away from home.
Their room might not be immaculate, but hey, as long as they can make their bed, being messy is an integral part of being a teenager!
What are the Warning Signs?
Just like there are signs that your child is ready, there are also signs that usually steer more in the ‘maybe we should wait another summer’ direction. It’s important to keep in mind that many summer camps are extremely accommodating to the unique needs of your child, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
According to parents.com, standard signs that show a child may not be ready include, clinging to you in new social situations, extremely picky eating, would have trouble reading/following a camp schedule, and are not comfortable sleeping over at anyone’s house other than their own.
Do Your Camp Research
A great way to ease your mind and help your child feel better about leaving for the summer is familiarizing yourself with the camp. Often times, camps will offer tours whether it be in person or virtually.
Bringing your daughter along for the tour will help give her an idea of what she can expect. She can see where she will be sleeping, what her environment will look like, and what her day-to-day will consist of.
Once she is introduced to the camp and acquaints herself with everything, it should be able to help her with the idea of being gone for the entire summer. If the tour overwhelms her in any way or makes her feel anxious about leaving, then you know she isn’t ready.
Send Her with a Buddy
Everyone feels more comfortable entering a situation with someone by their side. Do you have any friends who are also interested in sending their daughter to camp? If your daughter is able to attend camp with a buddy, it might help her feel more comfortable with leaving.
It’s important to remember that summer sleepaway camp can almost guarantee that your child will make new friends. So, we recommend figuring out what your goals are for sending your daughter to camp for the summer.
If you want her to gain independence and social skills, then we highly recommend sending her on her own so she can learn how to deal with new places and people.
The Advantages of Sleepaway Camp
Before you go, we want to share with you all benefits that can be gained from sending your daughter to sleepaway camp. Based on our own experience, along with research pulled from parents all over the world here is what you can expect from sending your daughter to sleepaway camp for the summer.
- A new set of skills to take home.
- A new group of friends to constantly keep in contact with during the year.
- The ability to know how to make friends and interact with new people.
- A new sense of independence that allows them to make decisions more confidently and handle themselves in new situations.
- Increased cooperation with siblings and friends.
- A new appreciation for their parents.
At the end of the day, the only way you will truly know if your child is ready is to jump with two feet in.
Here at Camp Ak-O-Mak in northern Ontario we pride ourselves on the ability to bring girls together to not only gain new experiences but to empower each other and help build confidence. If you think you’d like to be a part of that, don’t hesitate to register with us for next summer.