Making the Move

Many summer day camps have developed mini sleep away components within their programs. The duration of these excursions vary, but the criteria they all share in common are significant. Usually these programs are offered during the middle or latter part of the summer, after the campers and staff have had an opportunity get to know each other and bond. They all send representatives from their own staff to chaperone and participate in the experience. This policy truly impacts the immediate comfort level of the campers and their parents. This eliminates the difficulties that might arise when a first time sleep away camper must adjust to a new environment and a new staff all at the same time. This relationship can surely reduce the separation anxieties of both the campers and their nervous parents.

Sleep Away Camp Orientation

Another important feature is the time the summer day camp staff spends preparing their campers for this event. Similar to a college freshman orientation, these campers are prepped for their sleep away experience. The sleep away camp’s policies, procedures and activities are reviewed, allowing the day campers an opportunity to discuss the upcoming experience with their parents, friends, counselors and their fellow campers. The significance of this process cannot be understated. Finally, because the length of time day camp groups spend at sleep away camps is generally two weeks or less, there still remains plenty of time remaining in the summer for the campers to return to their day camp and or their families.

The decision as to when and where a parent should send their child to a sleep away camp is often an anxious choice. Clearly this process can be less stressful when the entire family has benefited from a successful summer day camp experience.

Jeff Krieger is the Director of Camp Or Hashemesh in Clearwater, Fl. He can be reached at

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  5. “It’s the Story, Stupid”

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