For many of the Steamboat Soccer Academy Residential campers, this will be the first time they will experience a true multiday residential, overnight, camp experience. We want to make sure your child’s first overnight soccer camp is a success, so we have prepared a list of the top 10 things you can do as a family to prepare for a successful first time overnight experience.
1. Practice Makes Permanent
Parents: Talk with your child about how they will get to camp. What will that morning look like? What will happen in your home while they are at camp? Be sure to emphasize that they will not miss anything important that week. Do a test-drive of the trip, either in the car or via Internet map. If you can get to Steamboat early, take them on a tour of the fields at Emerald and show them where the college campus is and where they will be staying. This will help them to get acquainted with Steamboat and feel more comfortable during the first day of camp.
Campers: Plan a 1 or 2-night sleepover with a family member or friend as an adventure before coming to camp. This can be like a test run for being at camp. He over to the Steamboat Soccer Academy facebook page for pictures of past camps and campers. You will get to see the fields you will be training on and the facilities where you will be staying. Start getting excited and more comfortable about your upcoming summer adventure.
2. Be Optimistic and Be Honest
Parents: Camp is going to be awesome. Your child will try new things, meet new people, and learn lots about them self. Let them know that you are confident they will thrive at soccer camp. If you let them know you have confidence in them that they can excel at the camp, they will be much more likely to succeed.
If you are nervous about camp, or sense that your child is, talk with them about those emotions. Share what’s on your mind openly and honestly and do it with an optimistic outlook. “I will miss you this week. But I am also very excited for you to have your first sleep-away camp experience.” Just remember, on Check In Day, hold back your emotions and save them for after camp. If they see you feeling sad or remorseful, they will feel the same.
Campers: Remember that camp is a place where you can be your best self. List the top 5 things you are most excited to experience at camp. Share this list with your parents. Also, talk through any concerns you may have with them. Be honest with yourself and with your parents.
3. Pack Early, Pack Together
Parents: Packing is an important physical and emotional part of preparing for camp. If left to the last minute, packing will often create more stress and concern. The earlier you start the process, the more time your child will have to ready them self. Print and review our What To Bring List from the Camper Packet as soon as it is available to you. Set out their suitcase or duffle bag a week or two before camp. Your child can help you fill the bag and check each item off the list as you go. Now, there is plenty of time to pick up last-minute things at the store. This way, packing for camp can be a big stress reliever.
Fun Tip: Sneak in a surprise note telling your child how proud you feel, and how much you love them.
Campers: Go through the Camper Packing List with your parents, and make sure you have everything you need for camp. Knowing where you put each item in your bag will help you unpack when you get to the Academy.
4. Bring a Special Comfort from Home
Parents: Help your child pack an appropriate comfort from home; such as a pillow, stuffed animal, photo, or special book.
Campers: Even the counselors do this! Bring your favorite pillow pet, book, blanket, picture frame, etc. Make your room your home away from home!
5. Set Goals
Parents: Help your child set a specific, measurable goals for their time at camp. In your letters and phone calls with your child, ask her about their progress on these goals.
Campers:What do you want to get out of going away to soccer camp? Do you want to improve your soccer skills? Do you want to meet new friends? Do you want to catch a fish? Make goals that are specific to you before camp even starts. Write your goals down, and share them with your family and/or friends before heading to camp.
6. Plan to Communicate
Parents: Discuss a communication plan with your child so expectations are clear. Just remember, less is more! You will have plenty of opportunities to “check in” with your child without jeopardizing their camp experience. Encourage shorter conversations by cell phone to allow them to get back to making new friends.
Campers: When you get the opportunity to check in with your parents, take advantage of those opportunities, but keep it short. Try to focus on letting them know how much fun you are having and what you have learned that day at camp. Remember the more time you are on the phone with your parents the less time you will have to spend with your new friends before they head home too.
7. Connect with Others Before Camp
Parents: Encourage your child to make friends with as many other campers as possible. There will be players from many different states, and even countries for them to make friends with. Soccer is special in the way that so many people from different walks of life can connect. Encourage them to learn about the other campers lives and soccer experiences. Also encourage them to stay in touch after the camp is over.
Campers: Connect with other campers as soon as you get to camp! Making new friends is a big part of the fun of attending a residental camp. Who knows, maybe someday you will be playing some of them in college!
8. Go to Bed Early the Night Before Camp
Parents: This one is for your child and you! Get a good night’s rest! Come to registration with a great attitude and be excited for your child as they embark on this amazing experience.
Campers: Lay out your clothes and get plenty of sleep the night before camp. Show up to the Academy alert, energized, and ready to hit the field at high energy.
9. Joy of Missing Out (JOMO)
Parents: Take a Break and Don’t Feel Guilty. Let’s face it, parenting is tough stuff. Letting go and enjoying the idea that your child can thrive under the nurturing care of someone else can be liberating. You need to recharge your battery too, get perspective and have grown-up time. As a result, you can be a better parent when your child returns home. Enjoy the fact that you will have so much to talk about when your child comes back to you!
Campers: Encourage Mom and Dad to do something they enjoy while you are at camp. You will be having the time of your life and they should be allowed to have a little fun too!
10. Celebrate your Successes
Parents: Plan a dinner or fun event for after camp. This is the perfect place for your child to shine and to tell you all about their favorite camp memories and accomplishments. Enjoy hearing about all you missed out on, while you were recharging your parenting batteries!
Campers: Help your parents plan an event with your friends and family where you can share your favorite parts of camp with everyone! Share your pictures, tell people about your new friends and where they are from. Let everyone know what you have learned and home much you loved summer soccer camp!