When Is The Right Time To Send Your Daughter To Camp?

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    I am often asked: “When is the right time to send my daughter to camp?” Over my dozen years as Director (and 13 as a parent here myself!), I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of girls arrive for the first time. My response? It may surprise you.

    There is no one-size-fits-all answer about the ideal age. As a mom, I have found–and maybe you have, too–that often a child is ready before you even realize it.

    Getting a Taste

    Camp Pembroke welcomes girls generally at age 8, although a few like to start at age 7. Most girls start here in the summer before they enter 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th, grade–with plenty more joining every year after that. Our sisterhood is so welcoming and we build and share so many memories so quickly that after the first few days it’s very hard to know who is “new”! This year, we have even launched a two-week “Taste of Pembroke,” a starter program (with the possibility to extend for a full session). It’s a great way to give Pembroke a try.

    Are YOU ready?

    Truth be told, there’s more to the tough-to-answer question of camp readiness: Are you ready to send your child(ren) to camp?

    Overnight camp is a big milestone for both parents and children. Think back to when you first put your child, as an infant, in the hands of another. And to the first day of school. And day camp. Every form of independence is a big step–for moms and dads, as well as kids! It’s OK to be nervous about the separation, even while you are excited for the adventures she’ll have and the friends she’ll make.

    Pembroke-counselor-&-camperThe thing to keep in mind is: you know best what your child is ready for. And you also know what you want for her. You want her to develop self-confidence, to grow spiritually and emotionally, and to develop lifelong friendships. You want each summer to be the best summer yet.

    Overnight camp–especially girls overnight camp, and even more especially Jewish girls overnight camp–is uniquely able to support those goals. Camp Pembroke and its experienced, highly-trained counselors and staff create a sisterhood that is cozy, caring, and full of so many possibilities for every girl. The camp experience is empowering and enriching with many, many benefits to unfold beyond its summer days. We’re here for your daughter–and for you.

    Here’s a checklist to help you know when the time is right:

    • Is your daughter comfortable going on sleepovers? (Camp is the best sleepover ever!)
    • Does she like to have a little bit of (well-supervised) independence?
    • Does she know girls at Camp Pembroke already? (Some girls like to attend with friends.)
    • Does she NOT know anyone at Camp Pembroke yet? (Some girls like to have a “fresh” set of camp friends.)
    • Does she or would she like at least one of the following: swimming, arts, ceramics, performance, kayaking, soccer, tennis, volleyball, dance, paddleboarding, pedaling a sparkly pedal-boat, baking challah, jewelry making, cheering, drama, singing?

    If you said “yes” to 2 or 3 of these questions, the time is probably right.

    Did you consider THIS benefit? 🙂

    Once parents get past the initial hesitation, some discover an unexpected benefit: you, too, can enjoy a little fun and freedom while your daughter is away at camp. If you have other kids at home, they usually love getting some extra attention. And if you find you have the house to yourself, well… you can enjoy the free time yourself. It’s all part of the growth experience!

    Always available to talk

    As you would expect, I see the many benefits of a camp experience. The independence, the confidence, the day-to-night fun and friendships: I think camp is unique, cultivating sisterhood and character that last a lifetime.

    If you would like to talk about signing up your own daughter for her first Camp Pembroke summer, I am available all year to talk. (While camp is in session, please understand that it may take me a few days to get back to you.) Simply call me: I’m in the year-round office at 781.489.2070 until about June 7th, and after that I’m at Camp Pembroke (hooray!) at 781-294-8006. You can also email me: efelcher@cohencamps.org.

    To explore camp with your daughter, please join us for a tour! Here are some 2016 dates you might consider:

    • Spring Tours: May 14 at 11am and May 22 at 11:30am
    • Try Camp for a Day: July 17 at 10am-2pm: fun activities for the girls, tours for parents, and lunch with camp!
    • Tours on all summer long: Please contact the office to schedule yours at 781.489.2070

    I hope to see you at camp!


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