Tips for a Successful Summer

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Tips for a Successful 1st Summer

We are so excited to welcome your camper “home” to Camp Kalsman for their first summer at camp! Camp Kalsman is a warm, inclusive place full of new friendships, growth opportunities, and inspiring, creative Jewish moments.  We also know that the first summer at camp, perhaps the first significant time away from home, is a big step. We’re here for you and your camper(s) every step of the way! Here are 5 tips for starting off on the right foot for a successful summer:

    • Shop for needed items and pack with your camper. Being able to recognize their belongings even if they are new, knowing what they have and where to find it will lower anxiety about camp.

    • Review the people at camp your camper can go to if they need something. Counselors, Rosh Eidah (unit head), Nefesh (camper care team). Remind your camper that part of the camp experience is speaking up when they need something and utilizing those people whose WHOLE JOB is to help campers. They do not have to endure or be silent!

    • Explain that we do not say “homesick” because we are not sick. These are moments of sadness–everyone has moments and moments pass. We fully expect to miss home or have times when we feel down at camp.  That is supposed to happen! Not even a trip to Disneyland, “the happiest place on Earth,” is without its moments (am I right, grown-ups?!)  Advise your camper that when (not if) we feel like that, its ok to take a moment but to not get stuck there.  Find an activity or a friend who is NOT having a similar moment and get engaged in something.  The best way to move through the moment to the next moment is to DO something, usually with others.
    • (Re)Watch the Camp Video – Speaking of doing things with others, watching the Camp Video is a great window into the Camp Kalsman experience and will help your camper imagine themselves at camp. This is a great chance to ask them what their most excited about, most nervous about and to reinforce how awesome and brave it is for them to go to camp on their own!
    • Practice the “5 Skills to Master” shown below – Camp is all about gaining independence and the weeks leading up to arriving at camp are the perfect time to start taking on some of these responsibilities and preparing your camper for what to expect from shower time to bed time to meal time!
This image shows 4 skills for a first time camper to practice before coming to camp including: taking a shower independently, navigating a buffet line holding their own plate/selecting food/asking for help if they need to know about ingredients,  going on sleep-overs at a friend or family member's house, and packing a backpack of things they might need during the day: waterbottle, sunscreen, bathing suit, etc. This are great skills to practice during the school year knowing that our amazing counselors will be there to guide, support and remind as campers spend their first 1-3 weeks away from home in a communal environment at URJ Camp Kalsman!