If you're a firm believer—as many parents are—in the value of summer camp, you might be eager to have all of your children involved in some capacity. There's often an opportunity for teenagers to work at summer camps, and this means that if you have children with a significant age gap between them, it's possible that you might be contemplating sending your younger child to a summer camp at which your older child is a counselor. Here are some pros and cons that you can think about before making this move.
Pro: Comfort Level for Both
There's certainly a degree of comfort that your two children will find in attending summer camp together—one as a counselor and the other as a camper. If the younger child feels a little anxious about going to camp for the first time, he or she will be pleased to know that his or her older sibling will always be around.
Con: Lack of Independence
One of the big benefits of going away to summer camp is gaining independence. A child who is meek at home and school may gain confidence through the summer camp experience and grow into a new person by the end of the summer. One issue with a younger camper having an older sibling as a camp counselor is that the younger child may not feel as much independence at camp and thus may not grow in this manner.
Pro: Quality Time Together
Most parents want their children to get along together, and this may sometimes be difficult if there's a large age gap. Siblings attending the same summer camp will have the chance to create some memories together. Even though each child will be having a slightly different summer camp experience, there's little doubt that this is an opportunity for them to enjoy this summer together.
Con: Risk of Teasing
If your older child sometimes teases the younger one, this behavior could continue at summer camp—especially if the older child feels authoritative because of his or her position as a counselor. Teasing could alienate your younger child and prevent him or her from fitting in at camp and feeling comfortable. You can avoid this issue by ensuring that your older child behaves appropriately.
Evaluate these pros and cons to decide how you'll proceed. Should you decide not to send your younger child to the same summer camp as the older child, you can, fortunately, choose a different camp. If you do decide to send them to the same camp, you'll want to find one that is a good fit for both of them. For example, if you have a boy and a girl, a co-ed summer camp in New England might be the perfect fit.