March 25, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 9 SCHOOLS & CAMPS Have realistic expectations. Camp, like the rest of life, Millions of children will get their first taste of independence at a resident or day camp this summer. More than has high and low points. Not every moment will be filled 12,000 camps across the country are preparing to give with wonder and excitement. Encourage children to have a children the experience of a lifetime—and parents should reasonable and realistic view of camp. Discuss both the ups be doing the same. Preparation is the key to a successful and downs they may experience. Ask the hard questions. Ask the camp director as many summer at camp. Not only does a child need to be prepared, questions as you need to before camp begins in order to feel parents also need to prepare themselves. “Sending your child away to camp is a major milestone comfortable. For more information. Read Bob Ditter's complete artifor most parents—one that is often marked by excitement, anticipation, and perhaps even some anxiety,” states Bob cle "Talking With Your Child About Their First Time at Ditter, licensed clinical social worker, specializing in child, Camp." When families make the decision to offer their children adolescent, and family therapy. Parents think that if their child is far away from home, he or she will be more anx- the benefits of a camp experience, they are giving them the ious. In reality, it is usually the parents who suffer concern opportunity to grow and develop in a caring, positive envifor having their child away from home. Most children come ronment that is safe and fun. With careful planning and into the camp setting and immediately begin to develop preparation, a camp experience can be an experience of a a support network—and the distance from home simply lifetime. The American Camping Association helps families find doesn’t matter. “One of the most important things parents can do to help prepare children for camp is to talk with them ACA-accredited camps that can serve almost any interest, ability, budget, age, and personal schedule through before they go,” says Ditter. Ditter makes the following suggestions to help families a widely used Online Camp Database and an annually prepare for camp: Prepare for camp together. Decisions about camp — like where to go and what to pack — should be a joint venture, keeping in mind the child’s maturity. If a child feels a part of the decision-making process, SPRING CLASSES • APRIL 6 to JUNE 29, 2009 his/her chances of having ADULT CLASSES CHILDREN’S a positive experience are CLASSES improved. Monday - Thursday Talk about concerns. As Monday - Friday PM AM 9:30-12:00 the first day of camp nears, 3:30-5:30 PM 7:30-10:00 some children experience 12 Weeks, $300 Saturday AM uneasiness about going 10:00-12:30 Gallery Sale away. Encourage children 12 Weeks, $348 to talk about these feelings. 30% - 50% Communicate confidence in OFF the child’s ability to handle 201-652-5882 being away from home. Preparation is key to successful summer at camp published Guide to ACA-Accredited Camps. Visit www. for a complete listing of questions to ask, what to pack, and more information on preparing you and your child for camp. Parents can also speak to representatives for advice on finding the right camp by calling 800428-CAMP. The American Camp Association works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. 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