As camp directors, we are often asked: “When is the right time to send my child to camp?” In our combined dozens of years here, we’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of children and teens arrive for the first time. Our response? It may surprise you.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer about the ideal age. As many parents have found–and maybe you have, too–often a child is ready for a big step before you even realize it.
Getting a Taste
Our camps generally welcome campers at age 8, although a few like to start at age 7. Most children start here in the summer before they enter 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th, grade–with plenty more joining every year after that. Our communities are so welcoming and we build and share so many memories so quickly that after the first few days it’s very hard to know who is “new”!
Two of our camps offer mini-sessions designed to help first-timers get started if you’d prefer to dip your toe in gently.
Camp Tel Noar offers two 5-night mini-sessions, the Ta’am (Taste) of Tel Noar
Camp Pembroke offers a two-week mini-session, the Taste of Pembroke
Are YOU Ready?
Truth be told, there’s more to the tough-to-answer question of camp readiness: Are you ready to send your child(ren) to camp?
Overnight camp is a big milestone for both parents and children. Think back to when you first put your child, as an infant, in the hands of another. And to the first day of school. And day camp. Every form of independence is a big step–for moms and dads, as well as kids! It’s OK to be nervous about the separation, even while you are excited for the adventures they will have and the friends they will make.
The thing to keep in mind is: you know best what your child is ready for. And you also know what you want for them. You want them to develop self-confidence, to grow spiritually and emotionally, and to develop lifelong friendships. You want each summer to be the best summer yet.
Overnight camp–especially Jewish overnight camp–is uniquely able to support those goals. Camp Pembroke, Camp Tel Noar, Camp Tevya, and our experienced, highly-trained counselors and staff create a camp family that is cozy, caring, and full of so many possibilities for every child and teen. The camp experience is empowering and enriching with many, many benefits to unfold beyond its summer days. We’re here for your child–and for you.
Here's a checklist to help you know when the time is right:
If you said “yes” to 2 or 3 of these questions, the time is probably right.
Did you consider THIS benefit?
Once parents get past the initial hesitation, some discover an unexpected benefit: you, too, can enjoy a little fun and freedom while your child is away at camp. If you have other kids at home, they usually love getting some extra attention. And if you find you have the house to yourself, well… you can enjoy the free time yourself. It’s all part of the growth experience!
Always available to talk
To explore camp, please join us for a tour! All our camps offer tours and visits all year. Please request info here.
In June-August, you can also call any of our camps to set up your visit. During September-May, please call our Year-Round Office at 781.489.2070.
We hope to see you at camp!