When it comes to camp, some kids like to come with friends. Summer camp is a great way to hang out with your “besties”, be with people you know have similar interests, spend time with people you don’t get to see as much as you’d like, or reconnect with one of the great kids you met at camp last year. A friend can be a security blanket or someone to be brave with when you want to try something new or start a conversation with someone you haven’t talked to before.
There are still others who look at camp as a chance to break away from the regular routine and prefer to go to camp on their own. Camp gives kids a chance to be their silliest selves when no one is looking, grow that part of themselves they haven’t had a chance to before, reach out, make new connections, and expand their friendship circles.
Camp is actually a great opportunity to be with friends AND make new friends. Here are some great ways to teach your kids to make new friends at camp, or any time:
- Give someone a High Five! It is an easy way to make someone feel special and a great way to break the ice when meeting someone new.
- Be Inclusive! Show that you’re open to meeting new friends and getting to know everyone. It’s a bummer to be left out of a fun game, so invite EVERYONE to play!
- Try something new! Trying out new activities allows you to branch out and reach outside of your comfort zone–both will open you up to making new friends.
- Be yourself! You’re going to make friends with lots of different people, be yourself and you’ll be on your way to making lasting friendships.
- Smile—it makes a great first impression: you’ll look approachable and friendly. People want to become friends with people who are nice, so show them you’re just that!
- Say hi first. You may think you’re the only one who is nervous about making friends, but you’re not alone! Someone else is probably feeling exactly the same way, and they may be too shy to say something first. So, go up, introduce yourself, and say hey.
- Find common ground. Talk about the activity you’re doing or ask them what they like. Chances are you’ll like some of the same stuff, too!
Most importantly, your child shouldn’t worry about about making friends. If they’re too busy thinking about making friends, they may miss their opportunity to make one. Just tell them to focus on the “Y-O-U” all their other friends totally love.
Here’s a great article featured in a Minnesota newspaper about the benefits of going solo to camp. Tell us what your child prefers and some of the reasons they like going to camp on their own or with friends.