My son is a 6th grader. Most of his friends are starting to talk about how they will spend this coming summer. Many are planning to spend at least 1 week attending summer camp, without their families. Some are planning to attend band camps and others are planning to attend science camps. All of these camps are overnight, out-of-town, and on college campuses. While I see the value of this experience, I’m a bit uncomfortable of a 12 year old attending an overnight camp, out of town. Am I being too over protective? How can I best prepare for this? Share your experience, if you have enrolled your middle schooler in this sort of camp.
Last year, my son spent 4 nights, 5 days with a basketball camp located on the UCLA campus. He was 11 years old at the time. He also has high functioning Autism. It was his first time spending that length of time away from us and basically being responsible for his personal hygiene, getting up on time, etc. However, the camp was very well organized, with plenty of coaches and staff on board. The kids were well-fed, and kept busy all day long. He also had a couple of other boys in his dorm room that were first-timers as well.
At first, it was hard for him, being away from home. He called us a couple of times asking us to come pick him up. Between us talking to him and his roommates comforting him, he got over it. When the day came to leave, he didn't want to go.
We live less than an hour away from UCLA, and we went for short periods of time during the day to watch our son play.
I can understand the hesitation, especially if it's your son's first time being away from home for an extended period of time. The experience, though, can be well worth it. It gives your child the chance to be responsible for himself in the way of hygiene. He'll also make friends with other kids, as well. Also, your son won't be the only first timer there, and camp counselors know who are there for the first time.
My daughter spent 3 weeks in summer camp (with only weekends home) between 3rd and 4th grade.
She was in trusted hands, or else I wouldn't have let her go. She was over 2 hours away from our home, but I knew that she was safe.
We have several options for sleepaway camps here and there are definitely some to which I would not send her.
I think the bottom line for anyone considering this is know who's got your kids, what their safety protocols are, how you can get in touch with them in case of emergency and how your child can get in touch with you.45943
Thanks to everyone who responded. You've provided great advice on actions I can take to ease my fears. You also confirmed for me that he is not too young for this type of adventure. I certainly believe he is mature enough.
We have contacted the camp director to discuss some of my concerns. They invited us to visit the campus, in advance of registering, to see how the campus operates from a safety perspective and to walk thru his daily schedule. I've also talked to his friends' parents to coordinate the possibility of him attending the camp with his friends. That way he could share his experience with someone he already know. This friend could also be his roommate. 45944
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