By Alaina Yoakum, URJ Camp Newman – plagiarized from Michele Ozer of URJ Greene Family Camp

In these final weeks before camp begins, it’s time to enjoy the last few days of school and start thinking about preparing for summer. Whether you’re a long-time camp family or this is your first experience with summer camp, we’ve got seven tips to help your camper get ready for their summer.

1. Get to know the camp map

Arriving to camp for the first time can often be intimidating, especially if it’s your first summer or you haven’t yet visited our 2018 summer home, California State University Maritime Academy (Cal Maritime). It’s a good idea to go over the camp map with your camper and point out some of camp’s main features. While your camper will never be wandering alone at Camp Newman, it’s nice to get familiar with the lay of the land. Even veteran campers may want to look over the map – and remind them to help support those campers who may be new to Camp Newman. (To see more of #NewmanbytheBay, check out this kid-led cabin tour, our directors’ tour, or our facility photos.)

2. Shop and pack with your camper

There is nothing scarier than the second you leave your camper at camp and they have no idea where anything is packed or don’t even recognize the clothes you gave them! Take the time before camp to print our packing list, shop and pack together with your camper. Knowing what they brought and where their clothes and toiletries are in their suitcase – and later on their shelves – saves for a lot of stress later when you’re not there to help them find things. Your camper can also be a great help for sticking on name labels!

3. Speak positively about camp

When talking about your camper’s summer away from home, try to avoid saying, “we’ll miss you so much” or other sentiments that imply that you don’t want them to leave or you’ll be sad when they’re at camp. While you will undoubtedly miss your camper, focus on the many, many positives of camp. Point to all the exciting activities they’ll get to do, the friends they’ll get to meet, and how proud you are of them. If they tell you they’ll miss you, it’s valid to say “I’ll miss you, too,” but then remind them of all the fun that’s to come!

4. Expand their food horizons

At camp, you are no longer there to make your camper’s favorite dishes. Although they’re sure to find new and old favorites at camp, before camp is a great time to start trying new foods they may experience at camp. While pizza and pasta is always an option, we like our campers to sample the daily dishes and visit our salad bar. Try introducing some camp-themed nights at home featuring some of our camp meals. Check out our sample menu for inspiration.

5. Teach them how to write a letter

In the new millennia, writing a good letter is often a forgotten skill. It could be helpful to sit down with your camper to practice writing a letter. Teach them how to address an envelope, where the stamp goes, and what to include. You might even consider packing pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes or including a couple of questions with your camper’s stationary to remind them what you’d love to hear about camp. But don’t worry – counselors will always be on hand to help your camper and we’ll also have Mad Lib-style postcards available for kids to write home.

P.S. When you send letters to camp, make sure to use our Summer Camp mailing address!

Camper’s Name
URJ Camp Newman – Session Name
1 Morrow Cove
Vallejo, CA 94590

6. Tune in to our camp music

Music is a big part of camp. Everywhere you go, you can hear the sounds of campers singing or playing instruments. We also have frequent special guests and staff who just love to sing and teach new songs. Introduce your camper to our playlist of top summer hits by visiting our Camp Music page (password is “music”). While mobile phones are not allowed, mp3 players and ipods (with apps/games removed) are!

7. Get excited!

Many of us live 10 months of the year for these 2, so get pumped! It’s time for summer camp! Keep the energy positive. Read 7 Things to Look Forward to This Summer! Watch our camp video together – the excitement is catching. Watch even more camp videos here. Make a camp countdown. Or check out our Facebook and Instagram pages. We can’t wait to see you coming through our gates for Summer 2018 at #NewmanbytheBay!