By Jill Levin
Jill LevinFor the past 11 years I have been a summer camp advisor helping families find great summer programs for their children. Parents want to find the best summer program and be ensured that their children have the most enjoyable and rewarding experience possible.

However, when your child steps off the bus after spending weeks away at a sleepover camp or teen program, it is almost inevitable that he or she will have changed. They will have experienced new opportunities, made new friends, have had increased responsibilities, and faced new and exciting challenges. Let’s look at some of what your child has experienced and how it might be incorporated into the rest of the year.

CHORES: At a summer sleep away camp your child made beds, swept floors, bussed tables and, yes, maybe even cleaned the toilets. At an overnight summer program, these chores are actually fun! This is a golden opportunity! Parents should evaluate whether these kinds of responsibilities should be continued at home.

UNPLUG: Summer camp forces many students to “unplug”: to talk to people directly rather than in 140 character segments. They also have had the opportunity to do without certain creature comforts – little access to TV or video games. Perhaps their return home is a good time to encourage face-to-face communication and discourage reliance on electronic devices.

DIET: Many campers have done with less sugary snacks and more limited access to food. Most summer camps and teen summer programs promote healthy choices. This is something that parents may want to consider continuing during the school year.

OUTDOORS: Campers spend a large amount of time outdoors learning new sports, hiking, swimming, playing basketball or even doing art and other summer activities. When kids spend a great deal of time indoors they tend to exercise less and become disconnected from nature and the environment. Being outdoors sets the stage for increased physical activity, which can result in all kinds of health benefits.

It is easy to fall back to old habits. However, it may be worth trying to form new habits based on what has been experienced at your child’s camp or other summer program. It will then become obvious that a summer program provides so much more
than just a vacation.

Jill Levin is the West Coast Advisor with Tips on Trips and Camps, a free Summer Advisory Service for families with children ages 8 – 18. She has assisted thousands of families in choosing the right summer camp or teen program. Jill can be contacted at: Jill@TipsonTripsandCamps.com or by phone: 310-202-8448.

Tips on Trips and Camps Upcoming Events:

Summer Opportunities Fair
(Overnight Camps & Teen Programs)
Sunday, February 3rd
11 am to 2 pm
Marymount School
10643 Sunset Blvd, LA

Summer Days Fair (Day Camps ONLY!)
In Partnership with Parents Education League of LA
Sunday, March 10
1 pm to 4 pm
Stephen S. Wise School
15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive
Los Angeles