Kids camp is a great time to make memories. Church camp takes all the fun elements and combines a spiritual application to each aspect of camp—making it even better! But parents want to know when their child is really ready for overnight camp. Answers may vary for different families, sometimes the readiness may vary for different kids in the same family!
Here are 5 questions to ask when figuring out if a child is ready for overnight camp.
- Do they meet the age requirement for overnight camp? All camps and activities have age restrictions for a reason. It isn’t to keep kids out, but to make sure they are able to have a safe and successful week.
- Are there special needs to consider? Some campers have dietary, mobility, or emotional needs to consider before sending them on an overnight camp trip. The church leaders and camp staff want to see every child succeed, but some situations require extra help or specialized knowledge. Make sure you communicate about any special needs with the group leader for the church and with the camp staff so they are ready.
- What is their confidence in going away from home overnight? Some kids do just fine going away from home without mom or dad, but other kids really struggle with the thought of it. Some parents have given kids a “practice trip” to grandparents or sleepovers with friends to help build the confidence for a first-time overnight camper.
- What is their independence level without mom or dad present? Going away to camp requires a child to get up, get dressed, and get going on their own. You can pack all the clothes for the week, but the kid still has to get up and get dressed (hopefully in a different shirt than he wore all day yesterday!)
- Would it help if a parent attended also for the child’s first camp? Sometimes a child just needs the reassurance that mom is close-by, so having a parent on the trip can be a healthy step in growing up, without facing all the fears of being away from the whole family. Don’t bring the family dog, but mom, dad, or a sibling can be a huge help in overcoming homesickness with a young child concerned about being away.
We know the impact of camp is powerful. Campers make lifelong memories while trying new activities, meeting new friends, and growing in their faith. My hope is that every child has the opportunity to make camp memories and grow in their spiritual journey through the camp experience. Here are several insights about helping parents have peace-of-mind with kids going to camp.
At CentriKid, we offer camp for 3rd-6th graders, but not every church sends their kids who are entering 3rd grade, some wait for kids to complete 3rd grade. That is something you as a kids ministry leader and the parents of the individual kids can best determine. We want kids to have a great time, be safe, and comprehend what’s going on at camp.
We serve tons of churches every summer with kids camp and we love having experienced kids at camp and also first timers! For more information about CentriKid Camps visit www.centrikid.com and contact us with any questions you have along the way.
Jeremy Echols leads the CentriKid Camps team and manages the LifeWay Kids events. He, his wife Emily, and their precious daughter love their church, their neighborhood, and spending time together. Jeremy loves to read, watch sports, and grill burgers.