Summer camps are a fundamental tradition in the lives of our children. Youngsters look forward to fun opportunities to foster independence, learn new skills and reconnect with friends. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have added safety concerns of wearing masks, taking temperatures, and social distancing. To minimize risks of contracting COVID-19, we opted for a virtual experience camp this year! Catherine was able to attend two week-long, theme-filled camps sponsored by the Notre Dame School of Dallas. With summer well on its way, we wanted to share a few steps we took before camp to help you get a GRIP on your expectations.
- Gather materials. Pick up, download or print materials ahead of time. We picked up items a few days before camp and Catherine enjoyed receiving the bag of materials. Many virtual camps are delivered through web conferencing platforms with audio and visual capabilities. Make sure you have the proper hardware and internet connections to support this experience. It’s also important to keep other materials on hand such as markers, glue and paper.
- Review the itinerary for each day. You have to get the “lay of the land.” There were explicit instructions on expectations for the day as well as clear directions for the activity. Review everything and reach out to the camp directors with any questions. Make sure you understand situations where you need to provide assistance. The camp aimed to support an independent experience but there were occasions where we needed to support Catherine.
- Illustrate the schedule to your child so they are aware of the routine. This is always a good option for Catherine. When she knows what to expect, she is able to easily comply. The camp sent a visual schedule and it made it easier for us to work through expectations for each day. In addition, there was a specific theme for the camp and we were able to display projects and activities.
- Prepare a designated area for camp. We carved out a space in Catherine’s bedroom that was designated as camp central. She had a desk, laptop, schedule display, paper, makers and other items. She knew that the time in this space was for camp activities. This boundary made it easier for her to transition between camp and home.
These four essential steps made Catherine’s involvement at camp a success. The prep work was crucial to a seamless experience and increased her excitement for the weeks ahead.
Come back next time and we’ll share all the great fun she had with her friends!