5th grade camp - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 01-19-2011, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 5th grade DD will be going to camp for 3 days and nights in February. Anyone BTDT? She is nervous and excited. In my day we didn't go to camp until 6th grade. There will be 10 kids to a cabin with one counselor. The teachers stay the whole time as well.

 

Just wondering if anyone has any experience about this to share. Or reassurance for a nervous mom?

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#2 of 9 Old 01-20-2011, 02:14 AM
 
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My DS first attended overnight summer camp when he was 8 y.o, but he wanted to go so there weren't too many jitters about the whole thing. We explained what he could expect - sleeping in the cabin, communal meals in the dining hall, using the camp bathroom etc. It helped that his friend was also at the same camp, so they thought it was a great adventure together and were pretty excited before they went. This boy had been to camp before and he was familiar with the routines, which was nice for DS. DD was about the same age when she attended an overnight camp, possibly a little older. Again she went with a good friend who had already attended camp, and they were excited about it. 

 

They both had done a lot of sleepovers by the time they went to camp. They liked using sleeping bags, so that wasn't a problem. I made up a little special "camp kit" for them with a camera, a flashlight, some basic first aid (really just fun character band-aids, insect repellant and sunscreen), a book, some cat's cradle string and a deck of cards and a few other fun little sundries. For familiarity and comfort, they took their own pillows and in DD's case, a favourite stuffed animal. We limited the snacks, but some kids probably packed more candy and chips than socks and underwear. 

 

Practically speaking, I'd make sure she's familiar and comfortable with using a sleeping bag. If she hasn't done any sleepovers, I'd have a couple of trial runs so that this isn't her first overnight without you.

 

I'd find out how the students are sorted into the cabins. Can she pick her cabinmates or do the teachers decide? If there are any bullying or social exclusion issues at school, I'd want to deal with them now so that they aren't festering when the kids go away. Last year, DD was on a 5 day-4 night trip out of town with her class and she knew that there would be "issues" with one of the girls in her hotel room. There were 4 girls to a room. One of the girls is a drama queen, for want of a better term (and a psychological diagnosis that I am sure could apply).  The drama started early, long before the trip (would she be in their room or another, who were her BFFs, did she get fair treatment from everyone.....) We talked a lot about managing around this girl, how to deal with the drama etc., but it was an ongoing conversation we'd been having for the entire school year. 

 

I'd find out the camp policy on calling home so that you are both clear on the rules ahead of time. That way there are no surprises if she decides she wants to call you but is denied because campers aren't allowed to use the phone (or their own cell phones). 

 

Cell phones, handheld electronics (Nintendo DS etc.), are often banned on these trips, so if your DD is a heavy user, I'd also deal with that up front quickly.  

 

How do the other kids feel about it? Usually there's excitement up front, but a lot of kids are feeling a little nervous too.  You can talk to her about the difference between excited anticipation and anxious worrying about a new situation. Both feelings are normal, and can exist at the same time. She wants excited anticipation to win out over anxious worrying! Ask her what she thinks will make her comfortable and happy on the trip - she may have her own ideas.  If she doesn't already have one, a little digital camera is a great idea so she can record the trip and may help focus on the excited anticipation rather than the worrying. 

 

Hope she has a terrific time! 

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#3 of 9 Old 01-20-2011, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. They did cover a lot of that at the parent meeting. No snacks. No calls home. No electronics, etc. Parents can call and talk to a teacher just to ask how the kid is doing but they really didn't encourage that.  Each kid gets to list three kids they want to be in the same cabin with and the teachers will assign cabins and guarantee that they will be with at least one of those kids. So that's good.

 

What do you think about me leaving some notes in her bag, in her clothes, etc.? I'm wondering if she's home sick whether that might make her feel better or worse?

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#4 of 9 Old 01-22-2011, 07:56 AM
 
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What do you think about me leaving some notes in her bag, in her clothes, etc.? I'm wondering if she's home sick whether that might make her feel better or worse?


Leaving notes sounds like a lovely idea. I think most kids would like it, but you know her best about whether it might be upsetting. Perhaps little jokes or comics would work nicely. 

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#5 of 9 Old 01-22-2011, 10:01 AM
 
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My DD went in fall of 6th grade. I was kind of nervous because she is a really picky eater and at camp, you just get what you get. I don't think she ate a whole lot but it was only for 2 nights so she was fine.

 

I'm sure your DD will be fine too and have fun. I think there were only 2 kids in my DD's class who got homesick at all.

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#6 of 9 Old 01-28-2011, 07:12 PM
 
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My dd just went. She is in the 5th grade as well.  I was worried a little, but my main concern was whether she would be warm enough.  I thought about going to the camp during the day, but made up in my mind that this little adventure would be good for her.  SHE LOVED IT. Our school district calls it outdoor school and they have so many things for the kids to do and learn.  This was the first time my daughter had been away for more than a sleepover w/o me or her dad.  It was a great experience for her and although the first night was a little hard she said b/c she missed me, but she had fun and was glad she went.

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#7 of 9 Old 01-29-2011, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. She leaves on Monday!

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#8 of 9 Old 02-04-2011, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She got back yesterday and had a GREAT time. She couldn't stop talking about it. She said they were so busy the whole time she never had time to get homesick. And we had a big blizzard while they were there and there were actually 2 snow days here that the kids missed. And they didn't even seem to mind that ;)

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#9 of 9 Old 02-05-2011, 07:11 AM
 
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She got back yesterday and had a GREAT time. She couldn't stop talking about it. She said they were so busy the whole time she never had time to get homesick. And we had a big blizzard while they were there and there were actually 2 snow days here that the kids missed. And they didn't even seem to mind that ;)



How wonderful! Great to hear she had fun and wasn't homesick. Thanks for the update! 

 

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