Preparing for Adventure: First-Time Overnight Summer Camp Tips


Summer camp is a rite of passage for many children, offering an array of experiences from making new friends to learning new skills and fostering independence. For first-time campers, the excitement can be palpable, but it’s natural for both campers and parents to feel a mixture of nerves and anticipation. To ensure a smooth transition into the world of overnight camp, here are some essential tips to prepare for the adventure ahead.

Choosing the Right Camp

The first step in preparing for summer camp is selecting the right program. Consider your child’s interests, whether they prefer traditional activities like swimming and hiking or specialized camps focused on arts, sports, or science. Research different camps, read reviews, and involve your child in the decision-making process to ensure they feel excited and comfortable with their choice.

Packing Essentials

Packing for summer camp requires careful planning to ensure your child has everything they need without overloading their luggage. Start by checking the camp’s packing list and guidelines. Essentials typically include clothing suitable for various weather conditions, comfortable footwear, toiletries, sunscreen, insect repellent, a reusable water bottle, and any necessary medications. Don’t forget to label everything with your child’s name to prevent mix-ups.

Pre-Camp Preparation

Preparing your child emotionally and mentally for camp is just as important as packing their belongings. Talk to them about what to expect, from daily routines to making new friends and trying new activities. Encourage them to ask questions and express any concerns they may have. Consider arranging a pre-camp visit or attending orientation sessions to familiarize your child with the camp environment and staff.

Building Independence

Overnight camp provides an excellent opportunity for children to develop independence and resilience. Encourage your child to take responsibility for tasks like packing their own belongings and making their bed. Teach them basic life skills such as managing money, following a schedule, and resolving conflicts peacefully. Assure them that it’s normal to feel homesick initially but reassure them of your support and confidence in their ability to thrive at camp.

Managing Expectations

While summer camp promises a wealth of fun and adventure, it’s essential to manage both yours and your child’s expectations. Remind your child that not every moment will be perfect, and challenges may arise, but overcoming them is part of the growth experience. Similarly, as a parent, recognize that your child may return from camp with tales of both triumphs and setbacks, all of which contribute to their personal development.


Preparing for a First time overnight summer camp involves careful planning, open communication, and a willingness to embrace new experiences. By selecting the right camp, packing thoughtfully, and providing emotional support, you can help your child embark on a memorable journey of growth, discovery, and adventure. So, gear up, embrace the excitement, and get ready for an unforgettable summer camp experience!