Conquering Pre-Camp Jitters: A Guide for Families


With camp beginning in June, it is truly time to get ready for the ISTC experience. From taking care of health forms, finalizing payment, and getting items for the packing list, there is plenty to do.

Our Preparing for Camp and At Camp Guides cover all of the logistics; however, we want to set the stage even further. Mentally preparing for our action-packed, sleep away experience should be a happy process; we strive for everyone to feel excited for camp. As such, we’ll be addressing the most common pre-camp jitters and how to minimize them.


“Camp is scary because I’ve never done anything like it before”

Giving campers a unique experience is part of the design for our main programs, All Sports and IXTC.  We want campers to take on new activities like jet skiing, banana boating, rock climbing and mountain biking so that the idea of doing things outside of their comfort zone becomes exhilarating.

For those that might be a bit nervous, becoming familiar with our schedule, activities offered, and facilities can squash any fear of the unknown. We have videos that illustrate “A Week in the Life” and “First-Time at Camp” so that families can get a sense of the action and atmosphere before arrival. We can also recommend coming for a tour to physically see everything and connect with our staff. Our virtual tour is another insightful option for those traveling from far away too.



“Camp is scary because I’m not sure if I will make friends or do all of the activities”

Just as novel experiences are part of our programs’ design, so is helping everyone build friendships. Before arrival, campers are organized into an appropriate cabin based on age and roommate requests. Campers without roommate requests are linked up with others their age who also do not have requests to encourage getting to know each other from the beginning.

Cabins not only eat meals together daily, but also participate in our cabin-of-the-week competitions. These events, ranging from eating competitions to relays to skits and more, bring cabins together and promote comradery through shared experience. On top of these events, our counselors fully live in the cabins with the kids, to push campers in a social direction. They’ll make sure everyone is participating in each event and getting involved during free choice periods.

With respect to activities, campers are sorted into teams. Each team has a set rotational schedule, so that everyone does everything, just at different times throughout the week. These sessions with the teams include all signature activities, so there is no way to miss anything! A camper’s team consists of several kids from their cabin, but also others from different cabins. The goal is to give campers two social groups, so that they can have more shared experiences with a network of different people. Our All Sports Coaches oversee the sport sessions and encourage involvement and sportsmanship, just like the counselors in the cabins.



“Camp is scary because I’m worried about missing home”

It is normal to have this feeling, and missing home can be seen as a good thing! It means campers have people in their life that care about them and vice versa while not at ISTC.

Missing home while at camp often stems from a fear that something will happen to those they care about while they aren’t around. It is important for parents to be reassuring and confident, so that campers can take those affirmations to camp. Avoid phrases like “how I am going to survive without you around?” as it may inadvertently make campers feel guilty for attending. Try to focus on the excitement and opportunity, with phrases like “I can’t wait to hear about your favorite activities”. Painting a picture that campers will complete the duration of their stay and have awesome things to share afterwards can make all the difference!

It’s also helpful to practice different elements of camp in the months leading to check-in, such as sleeping away from home, reducing screen time, and eating different foods. Getting used to these things away from camp will make the transition to ISTC even easier.

Everyone at ISTC is dedicated to making the camp experience as awesome as it can be; our team is happy to discuss anything further!