By Meghan K.

Summer is right around the corner. Okay, so maybe summer is four months away, but a little bit of early preparation never hurt, right?
And of course, with summer comes summer camp. Sure, there are day camps and all that, but when I say summer camp, I mean sleep-away camp. And whether it’s your first time at a sleep-away camp or your 50th, you may be left wondering, “Will it be fun?” And the answer is yes! Summer camp is a lot of fun! Here are ten things to do to make your week (or three days, or ten days, or two weeks) really awesome!

Make a friend. My first year at camp, my Mom told me that she wanted me to make at least one friend while I was there. I was quite shy at the time, but luckily the girl in the bunk below me said “hi”, and before I knew it, we had struck up quite the conversation! Everyone at camp is usually very friendly, and most people will say “hi” to you first. But don’t be afraid to be the one who starts the conversation. Most of the people are just as nervous as you are. Like the song says, “Make new friends, but keep the old…”

Try something new. Whether it’s a new food or a new activity, make sure you try something new at camp! Do you want to do archery, even if you’ve never held a bow before? Have you never eaten a breakfast burrito? Do it. The worst that can happen is that you don’t like it, and the best thing that can happen is that you find something really awesome!

Don’t forget to write letters home. Even if it’s just a short recount of your day, write some letters home to your family. If you become homesick, it will help you feel a bit better. Writing letters also helps you to feel connected, and it’ll take your mind off things. Even if you’re not homesick, it’s still fun to write home. You’ll be glad you did, and so will your family!

If your group does kapers or chores, help them out. Whether it’s sweeping out the dining hall, picking up trash around the camp, cleaning bathrooms, or setting the table before a meal, help your group with the kapers or chores that have to be done. And if you don’t know what you can do to help, ask one of your counselors.

If it rains, try to come up with some suggestions of things to do.
Everyone has a “what if” moment when they’re thinking about something, and one of the big “what ifs” about summer camp is “What if it rains?” The counselors will usually have some ideas, but if they ask you if you have any, it’s a good idea to have at least one suggestion. Playing cards, big group games, etc. are all good suggestions.

Learn a few camp songs. Most camp songs are “repeat-after-me” type songs, and so are pretty easy to learn, and if you don’t know the words, just pay attention to the people who do know them. You’ll be singing them in no time!

Chat a little bit with your cabin-mates or tent-mates before you go to bed. Of course, if you’ve been told that it’s time to go to sleep, it’s probably a good idea to actually go to sleep, but if you have a little bit of time, feel free to chat with the people who are sharing your tent. But also be respectful of the people who want to go to sleep right away and keep your voice down.

Take pictures, if you can. Even if it’s just a disposable camera, it’s a good idea to have a camera with you and most camps will let you keep it for the week. Take pictures of where you’re staying, what you’re doing, and who you’re staying with (but it’s always a good idea to ask their permission first!). Then, when you get home, you can get the photos printed and make a scrapbook that you can share with your friends who didn’t go to camp.

Make sure you’ve packed everything you need. It’s no fun to show up at camp and find out that you forgot to pack something really, really important. Go over the packing list at least twice and make sure that you have everything you need. Don’t worry about over-packing; it’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.

Above all, be positive. If you go to camp and you focus on having a good time, then you likely will have a good time. Even the worst thing that can happen to you will make a funny story to tell later on. And don’t forget to smile!

And now, for a bonus tip:

Read up a little bit on what you can do at your camp session before you leave. That way, you’ll know what to expect and also if there are any extras that you need to pack.

Good luck, and happy camping!

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