Help your child get ready for overnight camp


Congratulations! We are so excited you have chosen to send your child to Gwynn Valley and recognize the significance of the decision you made to enroll your child in overnight camp. Our hope is that each camper will expand their confidence, curiosity and compassion for others. To prepare for a successful camp experience, here are some ways to help your child get ready for overnight camp.


Be sure to ask your camper how they’re feeling about camp. Whether excited or anxious (most likely both!), be sure to acknowledge their feelings. Help them pick out a few things that they’re really looking forward to (riding a horse, petting a goat, making new friends, etc.). If they are feeling nervous or anxious, be curious and ask questions to learn exactly what they are concerned about so that you can help them come up with a plan.  

Appropriate pre-camp preparation is the best “medicine” for homesickness. If your child expresses concerns about being homesick, please let them know this is normal and there are people at camp who will help them. Let them know it is important to talk to their counselor when they are missing their family and home. To set your child up for success, don’t tell them you will come pick them up early if homesick. Rather, reassure them that you know they can do this and that you can’t wait for your child to share camp with you on closing day. 

Here’s a wonderful list of Homesickness Do’s and Don’ts from a fellow camp director in California, Audrey Monke. 


It’s all in the details!  We carefully review the details you share through the camper application and health history form. Please tell us anything you think might be helpful about your camper’s personality. Include friend requests, challenging behaviors, challenges at home, and anything else to help us get to know your child. 

Please be sure to fill out the Health History form as soon as possible and no later than April 1st. This form allows you to share information about allergies, dietary restrictions, medications, and health conditions. It also asks about other important details like bed-wetting, sleepwalking, or recent family changes (ie. a recent marriage, divorce, or death). Sharing this information early on helps us to best support your camper and create a positive camp experience! 


If you haven’t already, check out our Video Gallery. Watching these videos can help children picture themselves having a great time at camp. There are short videos about our core values as well as session highlights which show snippets of the Gwynn Valley camper experience.


Schedule some sleep-overs with family or friends. Having a few successful experiences sleeping away from home without their parents around will build a child’s confidence and lower the stakes for their first night at camp. 


We are happy to provide tours in the off-season on weekdays or weekends. If you’re going to be in the area or want to make a special trip up for a visit, please call and schedule a tour. We also host an Open House for new camper families every year on a Saturday in May when you can visit camp, take a tour, and meet some of our staff.


Feel free to give one of our directors a call to talk through any questions or concerns.