Camp it’s sooo Embarrassing!

Or is it?
Depending on the age of your child she may feel that camping isn’t for her.  Maybe she prefers to stay on the phone and chat with friends? Or maybe your child is so attached to her iPod touch that you wonder if you gave birth to an android.

Young teens are quick to pretend that the slightest thing that their parents suggest is humiliating.  Just imagine if you ask your teenager if she wants to go to camp? She may say something like, “Ooh, that’s for babies! Or I hate going outside! Or worst, what will my friends think?”  These are common reactions for young teens as their relationships with their peers become more important than your approval.

In order to make your teenager feel more comfortable with the idea of going to a summer camp, try attending a specialty camp.  Specialty camps focus on a specific skill or interest.  On CampChannel.com I found over 60 camps ranging from farming to wrestling.  Traditional summer camps focus on outdoor education.  However, all children aren’t tempted by the idea of searching for tadpoles.  A speciality camp allows your teen to explore their interests and the outdoors.

When looking for a specialty camp here are some tips to help you out?

  • How much time will my teen be able to focus on her interests?
  • Does this camp provide alternatives for outdoor activities?
  • Are there group activities that will allow your teen to feel comfortable being outside?
  • How readily available is technology? Will your child still be able to find a way to drown themselves in technology land?
  • What new skills will my teen learn that will encourage independence and self-discovery?

One trick that may really help you out is to do a search on local camps in your area. Let’s say you find three camps one is a sports camp, one is a traditional outdoors camp  and the other is a performing arts camp.  Ask your child not to cast judgement about any of the choices.  Just list the pros/cons of each.  Your teen may make the decision for you herself.  Once you give the control to your teen she may realize that camping isn’t just for “outdoorsy” types. Camping can be fun and a great way to explore their interests.

Just try it!

To Living Creatively!

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About Michaela Chatman

Michaela Chatman is the founder of Camp Roadless Summer Visual and Performing Arts Summer Camp based in the Tokyo area. She has taught in Chicago, New York City, Hiroshima, and Tokyo. She has worked with children from ages 5-16. She is a dedicated fan and supporter of the arts. She performs locally in Tokyo with Kaguratei, a blues band. She is an active member in TELL:Exceptional Parents Group, Japan Affiliate of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum (JASCD), Tokyo Investment Group, and Pink Cow Connections Networking Group. For fun she organizes The Tokyo Lovers Pizza Meetup Group.
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