Diary of a Camper Mom: Preparing for Camp with a Camp Visit

As many families continue to prepare their children for summer camp and gear up for the first official day, Karma Bryan-Ingle talks about the importance of information sessions and camp visits to answer important questions and concerns surrounding the camp experience.

Paddles proudly hanging in the dining hall at Kandalore Camp showcase just a few of the many activities offered to campers, as well as camp spirit. Photo by Karma Bryan-Ingle.

So, I’m now in full prep mode for sending Evan to camp. A couple of weeks ago we were fortunate enough to be able to attend a “First Time Camper” information night held by Camp Kandalore. I had a couple of reasons for wanting to go to this session:

  1. I was hoping that Evan would be able to meet a few of the staff members, maybe even his counselor.
  2. I wanted Evan to see pictures of the camp to remind him what it’s like there (we went on a tour last summer so he was a little bit familiar with the camp.)
  3. I wanted Evan to get a sense of what it’s like there and what he’ll be doing when he goes, and hopefully get excited about going.
  4. And finally, I wanted to learn as much as I could about things so I could feel less worried about him while he’s away.

A visit to Kandalore Camp allowed Karma and her family to explore their facilities and learn about the over 30 activities available firsthand! Photo by Karma Bryan-Ingle.

Well, let me just say that the night was all that, and more. One of the biggest discoveries I gained from that evening was around Evan’s life threatening allergies. While Kandalore doesn’t call themselves a “nut free” camp, their safety measures have more than put any fears I had to rest. They don’t earn the “nut free” designation because they can’t really control what parents send in care packages to other campers. However, when those care packages arrive, the counselors are very careful to examine the contents and remove anything containing nuts immediately (really, if you’re a parent sending a kid to camp this summer, please just don’t send the nut products in a care package—it would make everyone’s lives so much easier!!!)

The other thing I learned that helped calm my nerves was that the kids are never more than a 30 second run away from an Epi-Pen station. They have them all over the camp, at every activity centre and throughout the various sections.  And all of the staff are trained to use them. They have nurses and a doctor living right on site at the camp as well. So, let’s just say the fear of sending my kid away to die alone in a strange place have been put to rest.

I have to also say that I was so impressed with the staff that was there at the session that night. When the camp director introduced them he asked each one how long they’d been at the camp. As they went around the room I was amazed. The answers were 16 years, 13 years, 15 years, etc. To me it speaks volumes that the kids who grew up going to the camp as campers have loved it so much that they’ve continued on as LITs and then counsellors. It’s a place that people don’t want to leave!

The Importance of Information Sessions and Camp Visits

I would highly recommend attending a session like the one Kandalore held if you are sending your child away for the first time.  My husband and I walked away from the info night feeling completely reassured this was the right decision for us. And dear little Evan came away that night feeling so excited about going to camp.  I am no longer worried about sending him away. I know he will be well cared for when he is there and I know he’s going to be having the time of his life.

Diary of a Camper Mom

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Have you attended a camp information session? How did you feel after taking the tour and asking questions? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.


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