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Trusting an Overnight Summer Camp: A Parent’s Guide

Trusting an Overnight Summer Camp: A Parent’s Guide

Sending your child to an overnight camp can feel like a big decision. Here’s what you need to know to feel confident and trust the camp:

Camp Reputation: Research the camp thoroughly. Read reviews, talk to other parents - ask for references, and learn about the camp’s history. A camp that has been around and is trusted by other parents is most likely to provide a positive experience for your child.

Staff Expertise: Trust that the camp knows its stuff! Experienced counsellors and staff play a crucial role. They’re like camp wizards who create a safe and fun environment. Ask about their qualifications and training.

Safety Measures: Understand the safety protocols. Is the camp a member of the local camping association? Ask about emergency procedures, medical care, and supervision. How do they handle situations like allergies, accidents, or kids missing home? (Pearce Williams is a member of the Ontario Camps Association {OCA} and follows the standards of the OCA and the camping standards of the United Church of Canada.

Activities and Facilities: Explore the camp’s activities. Are they age-appropriate? Do they allow the campers to pick the activities or travel by cabin group - both work for diffrent types of children. Check if they have proper facilities for swimming, hiking, and other adventures. What are the cabins like? Do they have proper ways to keep campers cool or warm depending on the need?

Communication: Camps should keep you informed. Ask about communication channels—will they update you regularly? Knowing your child’s well-being is essential.

Sleepovers and Independence: Has your child spent nights away from home? Successful sleepovers with friends or relatives indicate readiness. Also, consider shorter sessions for their first time at camp. Pearce Williams offers First Timers Camp for new campers aged 5 to 9.

Responsibility: Can your child manage their belongings and basic needs? Does your child have the basic life skills to interact with other children and camp staff?

Comfort with Authority Figures: Is your child okay seeking help from other adults? Camps have counsellors and staff who guide and support. Your child should be comfortable following direction and being part of a community like camp.

Picky Eaters: If your child is particular about food, discuss dietary needs with the camp. Camps should be able to accommodate most dietary restrictions, allergies or religious preferences.

Pre-Camp Talks: Address pre-camp jitters. Talk to your child about missing home—it’s normal! Assure them that you’ll be there in spirit and that camp is an exciting adventure that you are excited about to.

Remember, summer camp isn’t just about fun; it’s about growth, friendships, and lasting memories.

Learn to trust the camp community you choose, and watch your child thrive!

Joe Richards, Executive Director, Pearce Williams (since 2005)



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