If a child has never been to a camp before, they may not know what to expect. This can cause anxiety that their parents may have trouble navigating.
Here are six ways summer camps can help parents ease those pre-camp jitters!
1. Make it easy to learn about your camp online
Your website should enable parents and their first-time campers to easily discover what your camp will be like. Add photos, videos, stories, and links to your social media accounts – anything that will convey what it really feels like to be a kid at your camp.
Parents and their campers can then review your website together and discuss the information they find. Accessible information on an organized website will help your new campers set expectations and get them ready to experience camp for real.
Try CampSite’s seamless web integration to enhance your site’s experience by incorporating the look and feel of your website into forms and dashboards. Consistent branding sets a trustworthy tone for parents. First-time campers will be more at ease knowing their parents are too.
2. Share alumni stories
Talk to former campers about their experiences and post them on your website and/or social media. Encourage them to be honest. What were they afraid of at first? How did it get better?
New campers may relate to these vulnerable stories of overcoming fears of camp. One day, they could have an inspiring alumni story of their own!
3. Ensure registration is stress-free
Registering for camp should be an easy experience. Use a digital system such as CampSite’s online camp registration feature to reduce both stress and paperwork.
With all forms, payments, and electronic signatures in one place, parents and campers will have no problem tracking down the right information and getting signed up. This will reflect positively on the organization of your camp and make first-timers feel secure.
4. Design a camper-oriented packing list
Make a thorough packing list of the basics a camper will need. Then, design it into a kid-friendly worksheet that they can use to pack for themselves. The more agency they have over their preparations, the more confident they will feel.
Make sure to add “a reminder of home” to the list! This could include their favorite stuffed animal, a framed photo, or a special blanket. A memento can cut down on homesickness.
5. Create a first-timer group
On social media or via email, contact the parents of first-time campers. Arrange a get-together for them before camp starts.
Many first-time campers may find it easier to make connections in smaller groups, so this gives them the chance to make some new friends and prepare for meeting the larger group when camp starts.
6. Streamline drop-off time
Extended goodbyes can make new campers even more hesitant to leave their families. Schedule a short drop-off window and ensure you have clear signage to make things efficient.
Additionally, discourage parents from making “pick-up deals” with their campers. A “pick-up deal” is formed when a parent promises to pick up their child from camp if something goes wrong.
Even if this is an option, giving first-timers an “out” may make them feel like their parents don’t think they’re up to the challenge of camp.