Article Summary/Client Notes: In the upcoming article, readers will discover practical advice and actionable tips on “”How to Make Friends at Camp.”” The piece will provide insights into fostering connections in a camp setting, offering strategies for initiating conversations, participating in group activities, and creating inclusive environments. By exploring the dynamics of forming friendships in a camp setting, the article aims to empower campers with the social skills needed to forge meaningful connections and cultivate a sense of camaraderie during their camp experience.

Girls smiling at camera

When you’re a kid, going to summer camp is one of the most exciting parts of the year. But going to camp on your own—without a sibling or a best pal from the neighborhood—can be a nerve-wracking experience.

Luckily, we know a thing or two about how to make friends at camp. Share these tips with your child, and they’ll come home with a group of summer camp friends of their own.

Before Camp: How to Reassure Your Child

New experiences can bring up all kinds of emotions for your child. In the weeks before camp, you can use the guidance below to address any anxieties.

Listen to Their Concerns—and Validate Their Feelings

Help your child put a name to their feelings by asking them questions like:

  • Are you scared of being alone all week?
  • Are you worried other kids won’t like you?
  • Are you nervous to try new things?

Listen to what they say and ask follow-up questions. As you talk, be sure to validate their emotions. Tell them what they’re feeling is normal—and that you’re there for them, no matter what.

Share Personal Stories of Your Time at Camp

If you went to camp as a child, maybe you can recall a time when you were nervous about the first day.

The goal isn’t to say, “I was fine. You will be, too.” However, letting your kid know you went through a similar experience (and came out unscathed) can give them the reassurance they need.

Remind Them the Counselors Are There to Help

Some pre-camp nerves come from leaving parents behind. You may be able to relieve your kid by telling them about the other adults that will be there: the camp counselors.

All counselors are trained to comfort kids—and help them make friends—so your child won’t be without a support network. At Galileo, we train our staff to meet kids where they are so that campers can engage at a level that’s comfortable to them.

Meeting Fellow Campers: 5 Tips to Share With Your Child

friends playing inside

When you drop your camper off, their nerves might be at an all-time high. These helpful hints can give them some peace of mind.

1. Go In With an Open Mind

The kids your child meets may be nothing like the ones they know at school—and that’s okay. Summer programs attract kids from all backgrounds and cultures; getting to know them can be a highlight.

As long as your child keeps an open mind, they’ll come across as warm and welcoming. The first step in being ready to make new friends.

2. Engage in Icebreaker Games

Most summer camps start the first day with an icebreaker or two. Icebreakers are a fun, low-stress way to meet fellow campers.

Encourage your child to go all in during these activities and actively listen and participate—even if it feels hard. This will allow them to establish connections with fellow campers

3. Look Out for Common Interests

Bonding over hobbies and interests is a shortcut to making friends at camp. Counselors often pair kids with matching passions, but your child can make the first move by:

  • Asking questions about interests
  • Looking for campers wearing clothes that feature characters they like
  • Approaching kids doing activities they’re interested in

4. Invite Other Kids to Activities

Sometimes, a simple invitation is all it takes to form a bond. If your camper has plans to participate in the all camp skit or play hide and seek at break, they can ask another camper to join them.

5. Be Yourself

This is sound advice for any child at any time, but it’s especially important at summer camp. Some kids feel pressured to act a certain way at camp to fit in.

However, the best friendships are built on authenticity. If your child is genuine, they’ll make genuine friends.

Keeping in Touch: Strategies for Sustaining Friendships Beyond Camp

Finding a new best friend at camp is an incredible feeling. However, the end of the week can lead to new anxieties: “What if I never see them again?”

Thankfully, staying connected is easier than ever. Here’s how.

Swap Contact Information

If your kids are younger, try trading phone numbers with parents on the last day. Unless you traveled for camp, chances are your kid and their new friend live in the same area. Arranging post-camp playdates should be a cinch!

If your child is old enough to have a phone, confirm that they and their friends have exchanged numbers or followed each other on social media before leaving camp.

Have the Kids Write to Each Other

You can also exchange addresses and have the kids write each other letters. As pen pals, your kids can send each other stories, drawings and photos. Plus, they can experience the fun of sticking on a stamp and visiting the post office.

Email does the trick, too. Using your email or their own, your kid can stay in contact with their friends, sharing pictures of their other summer adventures.

Plan to Meet Again at Camp

Sometimes the words “same time next year?” and the gift of a friendship bracelet are enough to forge a lifelong friendship. Many kids come to the same camp every year together.

They may not talk until then, but when they meet again at camp, it’ll be like no time has passed.

Camp Galileo: Where Making Friends Comes Naturally

two friends playing

The days before camp can be scary for a kid. “What if I don’t make friends?” is a phrase parents know far too well.

But in the right environment, making friends is a piece of cake. At Camp Galileo, we create a space where kids can be themselves, explore their passions and have the best time. Plus, our counselors are trained to bring campers together from day one, ensuring an unforgettable experience.

If your child is ready for a week (or more) of hands-on STEAM projects, friendship and fun, Camp Galileo is the place to be.

Explore our locations across California, Chicagoland, Seattle, and Colorado! Located in Southern California? Be sure to check out our Carlsbad summer camp or our Irvine summer camps. We have Camp Galileo locations across many communities. Use our Camp Finder to find the locations nearest you.

Give your child the gift of a fun and enriching summer with Camp Galileo’s innovative programs. Register now!


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