4-H and Youth

Tips for Happy Campers (and Camper parents!)

We asked a few WVU Extension experts to offer their words of wisdom on how to make a happy camping experience. Here are a few tips!

Kerri Wade, WVU Extension Agent, Kanawha County

It is hard for first time campers to work out of a suitcase! I suggest the camper and parent work together – pick out an outfit for each day – including socks and underwear – and then roll the entire outfit up and put a rubber band around it! That way all the camper has to do is grab it and they have everything they need. I do this with pajamas too. It works really well for my children, as well as for the kids in my 4-H club. Also, rolling clothes means you can fit more into the suitcase (or take a smaller bag).

I also send all my children’s bedding in a collapsible nylon hamper. You make the bed once you get to camp and then can put all dirty clothes in the hamper.

Finally, having a plastic shower tote helps children to carry their shampoo, soap, etc. to the shower, it can set on the floor and once again – keeps things organized.

Gina Taylor, WVU Extension Agent, Jackson County

For parents of first-year campers, I have the following advice:

When your child first arrives at camp, stay only briefly. Help them get their bunk set up, help them find a friend to hang out with, and go home. Don’t be tempted to swoop in at the first sign of home sickness. Many parents don’t realize that they can unintentionally become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Our generation is often referred to as the “helicopter parents” because we tend to hover over our children. Parents can actually make a child more anxious about a situation than is necessary. Stop and ask yourself, “do I want to take my child home because of homesickness, or because of MY empty nest issues?”

Janice Heavner, WVU Extension agent, Pendleton County:

Has your child spent a night away from you? If not you may want to try before camp. It will benefit not only your child but also you as a parent.

We don’t camp at the Hilton, be prepared for Mother Nature – sunshine, rain, ants, bugs, cobwebs, etc.