Sending your kids to summer camp this summer?
Before the kids start preparing for their final exams, parents start scouting for summer camps for the vacations. Sending your child for summer camps is a fantastic idea. Here they learn to be independent. They make their own choices, learn to participate, make friends and so much more.
Today we live in very unsafe times, every day we read and hear spine chilling incidents of horrors children are going through, as a parent you would naturally be perturbed and would want to protect your child from any seen and unforeseen dangers. So, what do you do?? Not send them to the camps at all & deprive them of a learning experience?
That's not the solution, the solution is we EDUCATE & EMPOWER them to be able to live in this world and face the realities. Now, whose responsibility is it to not only educate & empower the kids but also to be sure that they are in safe hands? As a parent the responsibility lies squarely on your shoulders. While you want your kids to have fun without any fear, it becomes your duty to take care of certain safety measures.
Before we look into the safety measure, there are some things to consider.
1. Has your child ever been to overnight camps?
2. Is your child familiar with camp structure?
3. Has she / he ever spent the night away from home before?
4. Can she organize her own clothes and make her own bed?
5. Has he ever asked to go to a sleep away camp?
Here's a little information on what to consider and expect when sending your child.
1. Find out basic details about the camp & it's owners
Name of the person who owns and runs the campsite, full address, qualifications, years of experience, mobile nos, land line nos, certification, affiliation, website & social media profiles.
Are the equipment safe?
How well trained is the staff?
Is the facility child friendly?
These are the basic information you should have as a parent. Do not feel hesitant or shy to ask for the information. It is your right!
2. Check social media for reviews
It's always a good idea to check the social media for the reviews, pictures, videos etc that usually every business entrepreneur will have, to promote their business. Even though this camp would be the best of the lot, the no of kids, the staff, and the place can be judged.
3. Understand their emergency procedures
Ask for their emergency procedures. How near is the nearest hospital? Do they have adequate medical aids? Do they have an on call or in house doctor / nurse? Do they have a personal vehicle at the site available for emergencies?
These questions will not only put you to ease but will prepare the camp owner to take the adequate steps for an emergency in case they are not.
4. Know the staff well, are they certified?
You should have a list of the staff members and their qualifications. Make sure you ask the camp owners if they screen the staff before employing them at the camp site. Does the camp owner have all the necessary documents of the staff? This staff will be directly dealing with the kids. You need to be sure to who you are sending your kid to.
5. Note down at least 3 mobile and 1 land line number
Yes, there are rules and regulations regarding the calls you will make to your children. But always take down at least 3 mobile numbers and 1 land line number. These places could be remotely situated and many a times the mobile network is weak. The land line number will be a safer bet then.
6. Ask for an orientation
The best way to know the camp owners is to ask for an orientation about the camp. Take your kids along so they get familiar with the place and the staff. You will also be relieved once you have met the person in charge.
7. Teach your child about Appropriate / Inappropriate Touch
While we are taking care of the camp site and the people involved in making our kids stay a pleasant and a safe one, it is of utmost importance to teach them some basic fundamentals.
a. Teach your child the correct scientific names of their private body parts. The kids need to know that the lips, chest, buttocks and the penis / the vulva are the private body parts
b. Tell them that IT'S NOT OKAY to touch anyone's private body parts or let anyone else touch their private body parts.
c. Teach them the 3 steps if ever they face a situation.
Step 1: Say No!
Step 2: Run away from there.
Step 3: Tell the person you trust. If you don't trust anyone, CALL PARENTS.
8. Talk to your child everyday
“Mom, please don't call me every day, I am big enough to take care of myself', have heard these lines before? Yes! Many kids don't want their parents to call them because they are busy enjoying their freedom, BUT it is important to let the child know that you will be concerned and to take out just 5 minutes to talk to you. In this way you will know that your child is safe. Make sure you are speaking with your child daily.
9. Train your child to not talk to strangers.
While most of the staff will be strangers to them. Ask your children to be extremely careful and to ask the main person whenever in doubt.
10. Never go alone anywhere
The washrooms / changing rooms may not be very close to the kid's tents. Talk to your child to always go with someone and never be alone in dark secluded areas. Take a friend along or even better to take 3 along. Keep a WHISTLE on their person at all times, in case of emergency BLOW!!
11. Talk to other parents
There cannot be a better review than from a parent who has sent their child for that particular camp. Talk to at least 5 parents to be sure about the decision you are making. You will find these parents tagged in the pictures or have commented or given a review for the same. Speak around, you will find other parents talking about the camp if it's popular.
12. Teach your child to always double check
“Come with me quickly, your parents have an emergency.' Tell your child to always CALL YOU or a close relative to check if it's TRUE. Tell your child not to rush and believe anyone. If the person does not let the child call she / he should shout for help with all the strength they can use. Practice the shouts at home with them. It may not come easily to them.
13. Train your child to help others in need.
While your children are having fun and learning a lot of activities, team spirit and being there for one another is an important lesson too. This habit will help them for their upcoming college & corporate lives. Some kids may not know how to react or what to say, but when backed with friends, they gain the confidence and the power to deal with a situation.
14. Visit the camp office in your city once.
This will help you trust them and you will be assured that the kids are in safe hands.
15. MOST IMPORTANT: Have a code word or password which only your child & you know about. In case they want to communicate DANGER to you. E.g. “You know what MAA, I wore my clothes inside out tod
1. Trust your child when he says something
2. Pick them up if they are not comfortable
3. Read & Respect the rules of the camp.
4. Leave them alone
5. Don't stress your children with your expectations
6. Don't blame them for any injury, accidents or incidents. They are still learning!
7. Don't call them more than once a day. Trust me, they don't want to talk to you. :P
8. Don't panic & don't cry! ;)
If you EXPECT the above from the camp owners, they will make sure they HAVE it.