Hudson Valley Parent

HVP Feb 2015

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18 Hudson Valley Parent ■ February 2015 dren the space to further explore and develop a skill that interests them. "Specialty camps tend to run par- tial days and could be a nice addition to regular day camps," Berkel says. Transitioning to overnight camps Overnight camps can last any- where from a few days to several weeks and are generally offered for children ages 7 and up. If you aren't sure your child is ready, allow him to spend the night at friends' houses occasionally. Or, as Berkel suggests, take advantage of a weekend family camping opportunity, usually offered in the fall and spring to familiarize campers and their families with the facilities and staff. Avoid "Camp Run Amok" Check out safety guidelines in the camp's parent handbook. Look for overnight camps accred- ited by the American Camp Asso- ciation (ACA). "ACA standards are the most universal and well-known standards adopted by most camps to ensure a quality and safe program," Berkel says. Day and specialty camps should carry a current state childcare license. Additionally, staff should be trained in emergency, communication and safety procedures, behavior manage- ment techniques (including handling the common bout of homesickness), and child abuse prevention. Conquer the camp blues Preparation and an awareness of what to expect can ease the tran- sition from home to camp. Before your child departs, go over a list of everything she will need. Pack a physical connection to home like a favorite sleeping bag, stuffed animal or pillow. Also, mail a card ahead of time to ensure it arrives before the end of camp. Tell your child how you look forward to hearing her camp stories, but avoid saying how much you miss her, which can trigger homesickness and worry. Initial nervousness isn't unusual. If your child asks to come home, consider the situation, but encour- age him to discuss his anxieties with the camp counselor and take it one Avoid saying how much you miss them, which can trigger homesickness and worry. HAPPY CAMPERS (Continued from Page 17) +ITT.WZ)

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