Summer is a great time for kids to learn new skills. One of the most important of all such skills are social skills. Children who are naturally shy can benefit from attending a summer camp where they are encouraged to open up to other kids and make new friends. Camps can help kids with their social skills and help them return from a summer camp session with an improved self image and many new friends. A child is shy is one who is likely to benefit from the chance to explore new surroundings and learn how best to interact with others in a space where they know they can have fun.
Looking for a Camp
When looking for a camp for a shy child, it is important to take several factors into account. In many cases, it is a good idea to first tour any camps under consideration before the start of the summer camp season. Many camps allow parents to take a tour of the facilities when the campgrounds are not in use. A camp tour should allow the parent to see all areas of the camp including where the children are housed, where athletic activities take place and where the kids will eat each day. Parents who have a child who is shy may wish to look for camps that have private spaces that allow the child to retreat from camp life on occasion if they are feeling too overwhelmed by daily life there.
Enlist a Friend
One of the best ways for any shy child to have the best possible camp experience is by attending the camp with a close friend. Children find it much easier to adjust to new experiences and new places when they know they have someone familiar at their side. Make a list of your child’s friends. Call up their parents and ask them where their children are attending camp this summer. A shy child who has a friend with them at camp is more likely to participate in the activities offered by the camp. Knowing that they have someone who they can trust can help a shy child try new activities they may not have otherwise considered doing before such as scuba diving and canoeing. Having another parent with a child who is attending the camp can also help the parent gain multiple viewpoints about the child’s experience at the camp.
Send Siblings to the Same Camp
Another way to help children feel more at home in a camp setting is to send the child’s siblings there with them. A younger child can help an older child feel more relaxed at camp knowing they have someone at camp with them they understand and love. A child who has an older sibling at the camp will also be able to relax knowing they have someone at camp they can confide in easily who will be on their side while at the camp.
Take a Leadership Role
Many camps allow campers to assume a leadership role at the camp. A job as a CIT or counselor in training can help the child be more comfortable and confident at camp. Children who are given the chance to assume responsibility are children who are likely to feel less nervous and socially awkward there. Many camps also offer a tuition discount for campers who choose to become counselors. This can allow the parent to save money on camp expenses and enable the child to attend the camp for a longer period of time in some cases.
Consider Specialty Camps
Some camps specialize in a specific are such as the arts or even a specific sport such as lacrosse. The child who has a particular interest and focus may greatly benefit from attending a camp where they can devote their time to exploring that interest in that field for a longer period of time. Children who love music can benefit enormously from a month long stay at a camp that allows them to meet other musicians and become better at singing or playing the piano.
Camps With Many Options
On the other hand, many shy children have not yet found their inner passions and talents. In that case, attending a camp where many kinds of activities are offered can be an excellent fit with their needs. A child who can spend time each day fishing, hiking and creating original art is a child who is likely to be constantly pleased at the chance to do all kinds of activities and feel less worried and anxious.
Camp is a wonderful opportunity for children to have a great time during the summer. The right kind of camp can help any child feel happier and take many steps on the awesome road to adulthood.
See more tips for preparing for Summer Camp here.