Tips from Taz: How to Prepare your First Time Resident Camper

Outdoor Program Specialist and Camp Director

Megan “Taz” Hardy, GSCM Outdoor Program Specialist

It’s hard to believe with the temperatures in the single digits lately, but summer camp registration is right around the corner–February 1!

Before you send your campers on their way this summer, I thought I’d share some helpful tips for those of you who will be sending your girl to Girl Scout Resident Camp for the first time.

Practice being away from home with a sleep over
The most important factor in shaping a first time camper’s experience is making sure they are comfortable spending the night away from home. If this is new to your camper, a great way to get her started is to have an overnight at the home of a relative or close family friend.

Another option is to host a sleep over for your camper and friend or group of friends who have been to your house before. This gives your camper the opportunity to experience a sleep over, while having the comfort of being in her home.

To  increase both you and your camper’s confidence and comfort level in nights away from home, have your camper attend a sleep over at a friend’s house with a family that you trust or go on a camping trip with her Girl Scout Troop.

Tips to prepare for the sleep over:

  • Discuss the sleep over with your camper. Give her plenty of opportunities to ask questions. Offer responses she can use if she does not want to do something while at the sleep over, like eat a food she doesn’t like.
  • Pack something familiar such as a stuffed animal that she can sleep with.
  • Let her know that it is ok to call home if she feels uncomfortable for any reason and that it’s ok if she wants to end the sleep over early. The first sleep over (or two) shouldn’t be considered all or nothing; some children might make it until 10pm and then feel the need to call and check in or to go home.
  • Talk to the adult in charge during the sleep over. Ask them the questions you want to know: what food will be served? Will any movies be shown? This is a great opportunity to let the family know anything about your daughter they will need to know such as allergies, and fears such as scary movies or large pets.

Preparing your daughter (and you) will make everyone more comfortable during the sleep over and will help her be ready for a more extended stay at Girl Scout Resident camp this summer!

You can check out a slide show with more tips about prepping your daughter for an overnight stay here.

I’d like to thank the Girl Scout of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois for some of the resources in this piece.

See you at camp!

Megan “Taz” Hardy

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