To Go to Camp Alone or With a Friend?
That is the Eternal Question…
Camp counselors and seasoned camp families know that summer camp is very much about personal growth and establishing independence, and that experience includes making new friends and memories. How does a camper make new friends at summer camp? Show up to camp ready to meet new people and try new things!
Going to summer camp without a friend helps encourage kids to meet new people. Summer camp and overnight camp, in particular, offer opportunities to develop independence and to arrive without any preconceived notions or pre-judgment. That said, not all kids have the self-confidence to try something new, like sleepaway camp, without a friend or someone they know. In fact, you may have gotten a summer camp recommendation from another parent and are considering sending your child to the same camp simply because your kid’s friend is going there. For campers who are nervous for any reason, sometimes bringing a friend to camp can help to alleviate anxiety about the camp experience.
If you decide to send your child to camp with a friend, consider ways to encourage your child to branch out alongside friends from home. It’s not uncommon to attend camp with one friend and then. return home from camp with many more! If you do decide to send your child to camp with a friend, consider these tips to help them get the most out of their summer camp experience.
1) Branch out when you arrive at camp
Consider encouraging your camper to participate in different activities to maximize their sense of adventure and the independence they stand to gain. Talk to your child about what they are hoping to get out of camp. Browse the camp website together to get a feel for the different activities, whether standup paddleboarding, snorkeling, or sailing. Make sure your child participates in something they want to learn more about – not just what their friend wants to do. The last thing you want is for your kids to compromise their own interests.
2) Bunk with Someone New
While it may be tempting to be bunk buddies and request a same-cabin assignment, opting with randomly assigned cabin mates instead will introduce your child to a whole new set of best friends. One of the biggest benefits of summer camp is the immediate friendships that form when staying in a cabin with other kids. At CIC, campers come from all over the US and a host of other countries. Bunking with someone new allows campers to learn about other cultures and ways of life. Who knows, your camper may even make a new best friend from across the world!
3) It’s All About Making New Best Friends
Bringing a friend to camp is encouraged if that works for your camper and your family, but we also remind parents that going to summer camp alone does not mean your child will be alone at camp! In fact, going to summer camp alone often emboldens kids to put themselves out there in ways that they might not have if they came to camp with a buddy. Camp staff is trained to integrate campers from the moment they arrive, so no child is left alone. In most cases, it takes just mere minutes for kids to progress from strangers to buddies and start their friendships.
Catalina Island Camps
Don’t stress too much over the decision to attend camp solo or with a friend. At CIC, our compassionate counselors and staff are experienced in making sure your child will have an unforgettable summer camp experience filled full of personal growth and adventure!