April 19, 2010

Ready for Camp?

Many parents ask me if their child is "ready for camp" yet.    Bob Ditter is a clinical social worker who works closely with camps, camp staff, camp parents, and campers.  We recently attended some of his training sessions at the American Camp Association Spring Leadership Conference (see picture of GAC staff with Bob).  Bob has compiled this questionnaire to help parents assess their child's readiness for camp. 
While I have seen many kindergarten readiness questionnaires, I have never seen a camp readiness one, and I thought this was worth passing along.

While not all answers need to be "yes" in order for your child to be "ready" for camp, it is important that most answers are "yes." Any areas that are a "no" for your child should be clarified with us so that we can determine if Gold Arrow is a good fit for him/her.  Knowing skills your child is still working on can help us ensure a successful camp experience!

This list is presented with the permission of Bob Ditter.

Ready, Set, Go!
Five Areas of “Readiness for Camp!”

Self-­Care Habits
Your child is able to choose and put on his/her own clothes.
Your child is able to brush their teeth without a lot of prompting.
Your child washes up or gets clean without a lot of prompting.
Your child has taken a shower on their own.
Your child generally sleeps through the night.
Your child does not usually have severe nightmares.
Your child rarely wets him or herself at night or during the day.
Your child agreeably wears clothing that fits the weather.
Your child can ask for help around self-care issues (dressing,
eating, bathroom care, showering, etc.)

Family Relationships

Is your child able to ask for help from you or another significant adult in his or her life when he or she has a problem at home or in school?
Does your child usually obey your requests and follow rules in your household?
Does your child have a positive, nurturing relationship with at least one grandparent?
Has your child successfully slept over at a relatives’ house?

Friendships/Social Relationships

Does your child have a best friend?
Does your child make and get phone calls from kids his/her age?
Does your child get invited to play dates?
Does your child get invited to birthday parties/Bar and Bat Mitzvahs?
Has your child successfully slept over at a friend’s house?
Has your child had any friends sleep over at your house?
Do other children want to come to your child’s birthday parties?
Does your child play primarily with children the same age as him/herself?
Does your child share control of the play when he/she is with other children (the choices of games/the conversation/rules)?

School/ Activities

Does your child go to school with reasonable ease?
Does your child do reasonably well academically?
Does your child have friends in school?
Does your child follow school rules/comply with discipline?
Overall, is your child happy at school?
If your child on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), does he or she participate reasonably well with its provisions?

Overall Psychological Health

Does your child recover from setbacks reasonably well?
Is your child able to express his or her feelings or concerns in words reasonably well?
When your child is upset does he or she eventually ask for and accept help?
Does your child eventually accept discipline reasonably well?
If your child has a problem has he or she been able to collaborate on problem-solving with a trusted adult in his or her life?
Overall, is your child reasonably happy?

Special note about activities at some camps:
If the camp your child is considering has special program features like tripping, hiking, rock-climbing, horseback riding, endurance swimming or other activities that might require being in good physical shape, make sure to discuss thoroughly with the camp’s directors.

Bob Ditter, M.Ed., LCSW
Boston, Massachusetts

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