Learn from summer camp veterans with these insider tips.
Step 1: Give out self-addressed envelopes Before you leave, give your friends at home stamped envelopes addressed to you at camp—that way you’ll be sure to get lots of mail.
Step 2: Pack the essentials The fastest way to make friends at camp is to have cool stuff. Girls, that means magazines and cute clothes to trade. Boys, bring cards and a secret stash of candy. And everyone always needs a fan.
Step 3: Pack some extras Pack extra flashlight batteries and more socks and underwear than suggested. And toss in a few funky items—like a crazy wig or mask—that might come in handy for camp skits.
Step 4: Bring a disposable camera Bring a disposable camera or two so you can take photos without worrying about breaking or losing a good one.
TIP: Girls, bring your best lotions and potions, plus fun hair accessories. Sharing them can help you bond with your cabinmates--and maybe even spark some romance with the guys.
Step 5: Make the first move Once you’re there, make the first move. Many campers are going to be too shy to speak to you first, but they’ll be incredibly relieved if you simply say 'Hi' and introduce yourself.
Step 6: Pay compliments Pay compliments. It’s one of the fastest ways to make friends.
TIP: If you really want someone to like you, praise their character--it’s the most memorable compliment of all.
Step 7: Volunteer as much as possible Without being a suck-up, volunteer for everything you can. Counselors like the helpful kids—they might sneak you treats or look the other way when you sneak out at night.
Step 8: Stick it out Don’t panic if you start to feel homesick. The feeling quickly passes for most campers. Try to keep busy!
FACT: Research shows that going to summer camp can increase children’s self-esteem, make them more independent, and improve their social skills.