We would like to take a moment to discuss the Camper Experience “special note” form which is a required document on our forms checklist. Some parents are ambivalent about providing camps with information about personal aspects of their child’s behavior or past experiences. Some parents fear that the information may be misused, while others are concerned about their child being “labeled,” singled out, or treated differently.

All parents want to see their child have a good start at camp, unencumbered by past problems. As seasoned camp directors, who are parents ourselves, we appreciate these concerns. We also know how invaluable such information can be in assisting us to help your child make the adjustment to camp as smooth and happy as possible, something we know all parents want!

Very often, having prior knowledge about a learning difficulty, a recent loss in or out of the family, or a major change in the family or in the child’s life can be the crucial factor in helping us be sensitive to your camper’s need for patience, understanding, and reassurance. Since children often automatically use their behavior rather than their words to tell us what’s bothering them, having advanced knowledge of areas that might be difficult for your child really helps us understand the message in his/her actions so we can assure him/her of a better summer.

Our commitment is never to misuse such information or to release it to unauthorized persons. It will never be used at camp unless necessary, and then only with the greatest discretion.

We will certainly let you know if your child is having difficulty. If you have any special concerns about this information or about your child, please feel free to call us. Or, if something comes up before camp begins, please send us a note or call us. As a team, we can better assure your child of a successful time at camp!

Additional Resources

The American Camp Association (ACA) has many wonderful resources to help you and your child prepare for camp.
Here are some suggested articles:

  • Conversations to Have Before Camp – Conversations Before Camp
  • Emotional Readiness for Camp – Emotional Readiness
  • Top Tips to Prepare for Camp – Preparing for Camp
  • 13 Tips for Managing Pre-Camp Anxiety in Children – Pre-Camp Anxiety

If you would like further assistance preparing your child for camp, contact John Swanwick, Summer Camp Director, at john@gdi.org.

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