How can I make sure my child enjoys sleep away camp at Camp Blue Ridge: Tips for First Time Sleepaway Summer Camp Parents Summer camp is not only a great place for kids to have fun, but it is where a child makes the most memories and meets new friends. Camp Blue Ridge is a great sleep away camp, located near Florida in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia. Our camp gives children ages 6-16 the chance to learn how to become independent and how to build friendships that will last a lifetime within the 250 acres of Camp Blue Ridge's safe and nurturing environment While the idea of sleep away summer camp sounds great, many children become anxious about leaving home for the first time; this feeling is completely normal and happens to almost every child, no matter what age. Parents too can feel uneasy about sending their child to camp for the first time. Here are a few tips for parents to help their child to have a fun and memorable camp experience. How do I know which camp is best for my child? Many parents simply sign their child up for any camp, and do not look into what the camp has to offer, programs, etc. It is important to do research of several camps that seem like a good fit for your child. You may find that a camp originally thought as great is not what your child really wants. And ask around! There may be people in your neighborhood that went to the camp your child is interested in, and can give you feedback on their experience at that camp. How far away should the camp be? When searching for the perfect camp, you have to consider how far away you want your child to be or how far your child wants to go. Some parents are perfectly okay with sending their child to a camp across the country, but others may want their child to be closer to home. It is important to get your child’s input on where they want to go to camp. If he or she is unhappy with the camp, him or her probably will not get as much out of it and maybe become unhappy with the whole idea of sleep away camp. You want your child to have a positive and enjoyable experience at camp, so do not forget to get a feel of where your child is interested in going to camp. How do I prepare my child for sleep away camp? Especially for first time campers, parents sometimes panic and send their child with bags and bags of extra clothing, shoes, etc. Having a few extras of everything is a good idea, and usually recommended, but packing enough clothes for a six month excursion is a little crazy! The best thing to do is visit the camp’s website, and see if there is “packing list” to make sure you don’t forget anything. And, expect the unexpected. It doesn’t hurt to pack that extra pair of sneakers or an extra toothbrush. You should also encourage your child to bring stationary, books, board games, magazines, etc. These things may not seem that important when packing, but your child may have free time to write you a letter or play a game with some new friends. Many camps already discourage this, but try not to let your child bring electronics, like cell phones or hand-held games. In most cases, they will be confiscated and go unused for the whole time your child is at camp, so it is better to leave it at home where you know it is safe. As more and more children at younger ages are getting things like cell phones, it is not a bad idea to take a break from it and enjoy sleep away camp to its fullest. What should I do while my child is at camp? We encourage you to write to your child. Receiving an actual hand-written letter is not a common thing nowadays, but the feeling of opening a letter is comforting and exciting. Ask your child to send postcards, describing what he or she has been up to while away from home. If you sense your child is feeling a little homesick, ensure your child that you do miss them, but camp will be fun and that he or she will be home before he or she knows it. By the end of the camp, your child will probably thank you for encouraging him or her to stay at camp. Many first-time campers often have a feeling of homesickness, but it goes away after the first couple of days. With all the fun activities that Camp Blue Ridge has to offer, going home will be the last thing on their minds. But when it times to go home to Florida, the campers will leave having awesome memories and wanting to go back year after year.