Daily Health Routines for Campers

Personal Health & Hygiene | Deterring Insects | Sun Safety | Emotional Health & Missing Home

Personal Health & Hygiene

Campers are expected to care for themselves by:

  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Eating healthfully
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Showering—Shower times are scheduled for each unit several times a week.
  • Changing into clean clothes regularly
  • Brushing teeth
  • Washing hands often
  • Using sunscreen & insect repellent appropriately
  • Checking for ticks  

Wildwood staff will model expectations and provide gentle reminders but families should set expectations regarding changing clothing and personal hygiene before the camper arrives at camp.

Coach your camper to tell an adult if he/she is hurt, feeling ill, or has noticed an unusual symptom. 

Deterring Insects 

Wildwood recommends that campers use insect repellant as necessary and take precautions such as wearing long pants, socks, and long sleeve shirts when appropriate to prevent insect stings and bites and tick bites.

Please send to camp an insect repellant that you’ve determined is appropriate for your camper, and teach him/her to apply it. Wildwood staff will remind campers to take precautions to avoid insects and ticks, and to check their bodies regularly. Campers will also be reminded to wash their hands carefully after applying insect repellant, so that reptiles, amphibians, and insects studied in camp activities are not harmed.

Some ticks may transmit disease after being attached for over 24 hours. Please check your camper for ticks upon his/or return home. For more information on insect or tick-borne illnesses, visit http://www.mass.gov/dph/cdc (choose “Public Health Factsheets” from the Publications section at the lower right). 

Sun Safety

Wildwood recommends that all campers and staff use sunscreen and take sun protection precautions such as wearing protective clothing and hats, taking advantage of shade, and staying hydrated.

Please send to camp sunscreen that you’ve determined is appropriate for your camper, and teach him/her to apply it. Provide enough to apply several times a day throughout the camp session. Wildwood staff will remind campers to apply sunscreen regularly and take other sun protection precautions.

Emotional Health & Missing Home

It’s natural for campers of all ages to miss their families, friends, and homes when they find themselves in a new environment, particularly if it is the first time away. Please do not be alarmed if your camper’s first letter suggests homesickness. Symptoms usually disappear within the first day or two of camp, as campers begin to make new friends and become familiar and comfortable with their new surroundings and routines. Your camper may be fine by the time you read that letter!

To prepare for camp:

  • Have campers try out different overnight situations:
    • Sleeping in a sleeping bag in another part of the house
    • Staying overnight at a friend’s or relative’s home
    • Or sleeping outside with a friend or sibling in a tent
  • Talk about common “homesick” situations, and brainstorm what to do if a camper:
    • Has trouble falling asleep
    • Wakes up at night
    • Sees/hears something that reminds him/her of home, etc.
  • In the weeks before camp, encourage independence in:
    • Completing personal care tasks
    • Keeping track of belongings
    • Packing bags and backpacks

These will all help your camper prepare to do the same at Wildwood! 

Please do not make a “pick-up deal” with your camper or help hide a cell phone to be used “just in case” – this suggests to your camper that you’re worried that he or she won’t succeed at camp and will make it more difficult for your camper to have a successful experience! Reassure your camper that he or she can still participate in and enjoy camp activities, even if feeling homesick sometimes.

Overcoming homesickness and achieving independence are important and sometimes difficult challenges for campers (and their families!) Campers are most successful when families and Wildwood staff work together to support them in following through on their decision to be at camp. The American Camp Association website for parents and guardians is a great resource to help families and their campers prepare for camp