Ensuring your camper is not only safe but having the camp experience of his or her dreams is why we do what we do. In sending your child to Camp Mak-A-Dream, you are sharing in our vision — one where children, teens and young adults affected by cancer can flourish, feel accepted and enjoy being a kid.
Sending your child off to sleepaway camp is a milestone for you as a parent as well. Below are our tips to make the most of the Mak-A-Dream experience — for you and your camper.
1. Pack light
Involve your child in the packing process to give a feeling of ownership over the experience. Remember that trip where you felt burdened by all the clothing and extra “just-in-case” items you packed? Channel that memory when helping your kid pack for camp. They will thank you later. And so will their cabin leader when the entire suitcase of belongings isn’t spread across the floor. Check our packing suggestions on each camp’s Facts & FAQs page for more details.
2. Rest easy
We understand that solo airline travel and sending your child hundreds of miles from home to a place you’ve never seen can be daunting. Know that we’ve helped thousands of parents and children through this. We have great relationships with the airlines and know the ins and outs of unaccompanied minor travel. Once at camp, our medical and activity supervision are second to none. We encourage you to learn more about that on the Staff & Medical page of the program your child will attend. And we’re happy to answer any questions about our processes or travel.
3. Use this time for yourself
This is a rite of passage for you as a parent just as much as it is for your kid. You’ll likely be happy to see your child gaining independence, but have a hard time letting them go considering the amount of caregiving you provide on a daily basis — something so regularly a part of your daily routine that you may have a hard time missing it. But (please) try not to obsess about what your camper is doing every moment and instead treat yourself to some things you can’t normally do. Go to a late movie. Take a spontaneous day trip. Make adults-only dinner plans. After all, why should kids have all the fun?
4. Understand they need time away
The great benefit of camp is connection between campers. To facilitate this, we allow very limited access to cellphones and other distractions for our under-18 campers. This helps them focus on themselves and each other rather than on a Snapchat message from home. That can be difficult for some parents who are used to having ready text access to their kids. By keeping outside communication to specific times of day, we’re able to provide a much better experience for your child. Believe us, you’ll hear it in their voice every time you do talk to them during Camp and you’ll see it in them when they return home.
5. Prepare for change upon return
So now you’ve prepped, packed and avoided panicking. But what about welcoming your kid home? Your child has likely grown up a little during their time away. They’ve been challenging themselves to try new things, meeting new people with many shared experiences and exploring a new state with these new friends. Our goal is for your camper to arrive home a little older, a little wiser and with lots of new stories to share.