Camp is a special time for children and youth. Through a positive camp experience campers develop self-esteem, ward off summer learning loss, and develop a sense of independence. For the families at home, communicating with their campers is a fun and exciting way to share in the camp experience. The American Camp Association® (ACA) suggests the following do's and don'ts for families to keep in touch with their happy camper:
- DO give your child pre-addressed, stamped envelopes or postcards so that he or she can keep you informed of camp activities.
- DO send a note or postcard in advance to the camp so there will be a personalized touch of home when your child arrives. This lets young campers know that the family is thinking about them, assures campers that parents know they are having a good time, and expresses enthusiasm for the camp's activities.
- DO check with the camp director to see what the camp's policies are regarding care packages. Be sure to ask what items may or may not be included. Also, consider sending your child to camp with photos or a favorite stuffed animal.
- DO avoid mentioning how much parents, siblings, family, and even pets miss them.
- DON'T worry. Your natural reaction is to call on the first day just about bedtime to see how your camper is doing. Remember that counselors are trained to help campers adjust to camp life.
Many camps also offer families the opportunity to check in from afar, using technology to post photos and video of daily activities to camp Web sites. It's important for families to always check with the camp director prior to camp to get the scoop on policies — from what electronics are allowed at camp to correspondences with home.
ACA reminds families that there truly is a camp for every child and every situation. For more information on the life-changing experience of camp, or to use ACA's Find a Camp database to find the perfect camp experience for your child, visit www.CampParents.org . In addition, families can follow ACA on Facebook  and Twitter  for helpful hints and camp information.
Contact Public Relations at 765.349.3317 or pr@ACAcamps.org  to interview an ACA spokesperson or for more information about the camp experience. For customizable public service announcements or article reprints, visit our Media Center at www.ACAcamps.org/media_center/ .
The American Camp Association® (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit www.ACAcamps.org .