At ages 6-7, we recommend you send your child only if he/she expresses interest and excitement about the experience and has demonstrated independence at home, such as being able to take a shower and wash their own hair, get themselves dressed, etc. Counselors do assist campers at that age with everything they need, and camp is a good experience to reinforce those skills.
If by age 10, you and/or your child are still unsure whether he or she is “ready” for camp, it is still probably a good age to start. For children needing to gain some independence, it seems to be easier to make the adjustment at a younger age than during the adolescent years. Even children who don’t enjoy sleepovers tend to do well in the structured, fun, supervised environment of camp.
Some of our campers do start camp at older ages (12-14), and they tend to adjust fine. Usually, they are disappointed, however, that their number of years at camp is limited. If they are interested in continuing in our JC (Junior Counselor) program for campers coming out of 10th and 11th grade, they need to have attended Gold Arrow as a camper.
- Counselor talks with the camper and discusses what the unacceptable behavior is and what appropriate behaviors can be utilized instead.
- If the behavior continues, then the counselor talks with his or her supervisor, a director contacts the parents, and the camper meets with a director to sign a behavioral contract outlining his/her understanding of what behavior is expected and that the subsequent consequence will be to go home early from camp.
- If the behavior still persists, a director contacts the parents again and we make arrangements for the camper to go home.