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Parents often ask whether it is advisable to send their child to overnight camp with a friend from home. This is not always the best idea. Sleep away camp is about independent growth. Children gain confidence and self-esteem at camp. Camp is a place where children can spread their wings, make new friends and try different activities. At overnight camp, children have the opportunity to make their own decisions in a safe environment.
The situation is different when a boy or girl goes away to camp with a friend from home. Sometimes one child will cling onto the other and interfere with them branching out and making new friends. Other times one of the children makes new friends and the second child feels left out. Sometimes the camper who makes a new friend will even feel disloyal to their friend from home. That child may feel conflicted when they choose to do something with their new camp friend or want to try another activity. We have seen situations where one of the campers is homesick and brings the other down. It can also be hard for one or both of the children when the second child starts at a camp that the first has already attended.
Of course, sometimes it works out fine to send a child to sleep away camp with a friend from home. In making this determination, look at both children, their relationship and their respective personalities and interests. When parents decide to send friends together, in choosing the camp, they should each look at their individual child. The camp that is the best fit for one child may not be as right for the other. Each parent should feel like the camp will be a great fit for their child before they just send them with a friend.
When a child goes to sleepaway camp with a friend from home, it is a good idea to put them in different bunks. They will still have the security of knowing that their home friend is there. However, each of the children will be able to branch out, make new friends and reap the immeasurable benefits of going away to camp.