One4mom4All asks:

How old is old enough for a week-long co-ed sleepover camp?

Our city's Recreation Department offers a week-long sleepover camp for kids age 7 and older. While the camp is co-ed, girls have their own cabins (with female adult chaperones). I used to attend camps like this when I was a child, and found them to be so fun and memorable. Whether it was a Girl Scout camp or a YMCA camp, I always learned something new, and had a blast meeting new people too.

Given my positive experiences with sleepover camps, I want my daughter to be able to enjoy this type of camp too. When I asked her if she was interested, she was very excited about the opportunity and wants to go.

When I talked with my friends about it, though, they expressed some worries: "It's so far away," "Is she ready?", as well as an assortment of “What if's?”. Our daughter is 7 and in first grade. She does well academically and socially, and does not have any special needs, learning disabilities or developmental challenges. I think she would really enjoy herself at camp. She might miss us at bedtime the first night or so, but I think this experience would support our daughter's learning and growth, and enable her to enjoy new friendships. Plus, we'll be camping near the city's campground a few weeks beforehand, and plan to inspect to verify cleanliness & safety.

Yet, still I wonder: am I making a mistake in allowing our daughter to go to the camp? Is she old enough? If age isn't the right measure of readiness, what other factors do you think I should I consider?
In Topics: Camp and summer enrichment, Nature and outdoors
> 60 days ago

Apr 8, 2009

Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
There may be big studies that I've never read published on this topic, but my opinion is a resounding "yes, do it."  Age seven might not be old enough for a few kids but most kids will handle it well. Get the kids out there with peers and some dynamic happens and they get a little tougher.  No doubt she will be homesick but with others her age around her, she'll be fine - that's my bet.

As for other factors to consider, it sounds like you have the bases covered.  Stay positive about it, create an expectation of fun and adventure (but not too much adventure!).  Give her a mission if that seems right, something like "bring me back the most interesting leaf/rock/flower you find" as a point of focus.  Get her a disposable camera, talk about making a scrapbook afterwards.

My older daughter went to Girl Scout camp early - though maybe not in first grade (it was ten or so years ago) and the experience repeated to where now, as a late teen, she works summers as a camp counselor at a Boy Scout camp in the Sierra Nevadas and has become one rugged individual but sweet and engaging at the same time.  The earlier experiences started her on the path of being self-sufficient, strong, well-organized, and extremely capable.

You may find that your daughter will fare better than you will...that was also an aspect of our experience.

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Additional Answers (1)

SmithFamily writes:
Sorry, but I don't agree with Bob's answer.  7 is too young.  Even if your child can "handle it", does the mean it is necessary step at this age.  They will learn that same independence from sleep away camp when they are 10 and do it with more confidence.  Even Bob didn't send his child at 7.  My question is who is this camp really for?  Your child would probably have a rewarding experience at an all-day camp with out putting that pressure of complete separation on the.  I think if you are even questioning if it is right, then she is not ready.
> 60 days ago

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