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Camp 101: How Far is Too Far? How Far is Far Enough?

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Hey, Camp Families!

All parents want their children to get the most out of the camp experience when they send them off for the summer. And choosing the right camp has a lot to do with it. With no shortage of camps to look into, it may be difficult to know where to jump in. A good way to start is to consider what location will be best. Where do you want to send your camper?—geographically speaking. You’ll need to sit down with your child to go over the choices and gauge which option seems preferable.

It pretty much breaks down into two choices: Attend a summer camp that’s close to home or travel to one that’s far away? And, if it’s a viable option for your family, you can also present the choice of attending a camp that’s far from home but in the same area as close relatives. Each of these choices has their own benefits. Consider the aspects of these options when you talk about it with your kid. And keep in mind that homesickness can be an issue whether your camp is 20 miles from home or 2000. It’s not about the distance; it’s about being away.

Camping Close
• You’ll have an easier (and cheaper) time traveling for evaluations and Visiting Days, as well as Opening and Closing Day.
• If your camp isn’t too far, you might be able to find parents you know who have experience with this camp.
• You may be able to apply for an in-state tuition discount.
• Maybe cabin mates will be neighborhood friends (which can be a good or bad thing—see how your kid feels about the idea).
• Mail will only take a couple days to get to camp.

Sending your child to a nearby summer camp can give you a feeling of security, but don’t let your relief be the deciding factor unless your camper feels the same way. It’s best to simply ask, “Do you want to travel far for camp or would you rather go somewhere that’s closer to home?” It’s probably a smart idea to sit down with a map when you talk to your kid; you may discover that your kid’s definition of ‘far’ doesn’t even leave the state.

Traveling Far
• Your list of camps to choose from grows incredibly bigger (once again, this can be a good or bad thing—it depends on how you are at decision-making).
• A long trip builds anticipation and can add to the sense of adventure for kids—especially teenagers.
• A distant camp might expose your camper to a new environment where they can see mountains, lakes, snow, warm temperatures, an ocean—if your finances permit, maybe even a whole different country!
• A distant location might inspire a fun family vacation when you go to pick up your camper on Closing Day.

Traveling Far with Nearby Family
Attending a camp that’s far from home but near grandparents, aunts and uncles, older siblings, or any other close relative is another option for you and your kid. Of course, you’ll need to confirm that these relatives would be so kind to help your camper out in some emergency situation or even just arranging to pick your camper up and drop them off at an airport or greyhound station. This option accommodates the wishes of both you and your camper if your kid wants to travel but you’re concerned about them being all alone in a faraway place.

Aside from how far you travel for summer camp, you should also take into account the geographic features that certain areas have to offer over others. For instance, the east and west coasts are perfect for snorkeling and SCUBA diving. And you’ll want to check out the Rocky Mountains if your camper’s mainly interested in skiing or snowboarding. Think about the climate, landscape, and bodies of water necessary for your camper to do the activities they’re passionate about. Enjoy figuring out what locations will be best with your camper and narrow down where they’ll be going next summer.

As always, thanks for reading, Folks!


- John


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