Advice for First Time Camp Parents

04.25.2017 By Ellen King

We’ve compiled advice from our 2015 and 2016 Camper Families for first time parents. Here’s what they had to say..

On Preparing for Camp

  • Attend a meeting at someone’s house ahead of time to meet fellow campers. Even though both my daughters saw the camp with their older sister, they enjoyed a local meet/greet with Liz and fellow campers.*
  • Talk to a veteran camper or parent — we spoke several times with my niece to get her opinion on how/what to pack and what to expect. Also good to have some basic outdoors or camping experience to develop a comfort level with rustic/basic facilities.
  • To advise daughters that it is perfectly normal to be a little homesick and to stick it out and have a great time. Also they will probably never learn these skills at home.
  • Talk to parents who send their children there. Each child is different, but its such a great growth experience and great for parents too to get the free time.
  • Connect with another child who has gone. Driving with a returning camper to the bus stop was a game changer. All the anxiety disappeared…and take the bus. Traveling to camp in a group is a great way to meet kids and transition in.
  • Any parent/child should watch your video! It is terrific.
  • Stick to the packing list. Don’t worry that you can’t speak to your daughter on a regular basis. She’ll be having fun.
  • Label everything!

On missing your daughter

  • With younger campers, accept that you run to the mailbox for that first letter and it will give you NO information LOL. But the counselor will quickly write and fill in the blanks. The time goes faster than you imagine and once you see their growth, you will know it was the best thing you’ve ever done for them.
  • Clearwater knows what they are doing. Feels strange to only have communication via snail mail- but this is good. My daughter is still be supported, even though I’m not the one doing it. (which is hard!)
  • Ignore the horrible feeling in your gut as you drop your daughter off (for nearly a month) and put your trust in camp. I know that’s a hard sell. But, I’d ask them to trust me and that their daughter would have the time of her life.
  • She will be homesick, she will write to you about it and she will be a better person for it. 🙂

On the camp experience

  • Don’t think twice. Just do it.
  • Camp years are fleeting. Start early (age 8 or 9) to maximize the experience
  • Keep an open mind. Talk to them about how lucky they are to go to camp and meet new people, try new activities, try new foods.
  • There is no experience like it. Best parts are all girls and no electronics.
  • Let go. The kids are in good hands. Clearwater provides an experience that parents can’t. To quote The Beatles, “Let it be.”

Clearwater is so excited to be welcoming over 64 new campers to our 2017 season! We are a community that supports and encourages each other.  If there is anything we can do for our new or seasoned parents please let us know!

*We have concluded our gatherings for the 2017 season. If you would like to meet a fellow camper in your area we can arrange for you to communicate with them. Just email Melinda, our Office Manager at

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