Timely tips to help kids of divorce love summer camp



Many churches host camps during the summer months. Some camps are day camps, where the child only attends during the day. Other camps are overnight camps. Summer camps can be a wonderful experience for children.

A lot of children from two-parent homes wait excitedly to attend these fun and awesome camps. Not so much for many children in single parent homes.

Summer camps can become sticky and messy for the child of divorce. While almost every child of divorce will want to go to camp many will have conflicting emotions while at camp.

Children worry

  • On the one hand the child may be relived to just get away from the chaos between two warring adults. Camp leaders will need to be attuned the fact that children of divorce have two homes in which they live. Each home is important to the child. While talking about home life, remember the child of divorce and their situations.
  • Other children may worry excessively about the parent they left. While most camp leaders know a child may get homesick, for the child of divorce they don’t get homesick so much as they worry about the parent they left.
  • If it is a girl who has left a dad at home, she will worry if he is getting up on time; or if he is eating when he’s supposed to or it he is getting to work on time.
  • If it is a boy who has left a mother alone at home, he may worry about who is taking out the garbage or is mom lifting heavy things.
  • Both girls and boys may wonder if mom/dad is lonely without them.
  • Other kids will wonder if their parent is secretly dating someone while they are gone.
  • A few will worry if their parent will still be there when they return home. After all is one parent left, the other might also leave. This is a huge burden kids of divorce carry around with them.

What camp leaders can do

  • Camp leaders can openly talk with the child of divorce about their home life.
  • You can reassure the child that the mother they left or the father left alone is going to be okay without the child there.
  • Reassure the child that the parent will be there when they return home from camp.
  • Reassure them that all of their toys, clothes and treasures will be waiting for them when they return home.
  • If allowed by camp rules, encourage the child of divorce to text regularly while at camp. Provide encouraging scripture for the child to cling to while away.
  • Love these children unconditionally and work at building a relationship with them.
  • If your church has children whose single parent can’t afford a week-long summer camp, provide scholarships or allow the child and parent to earn the cost of the camp. It might be a car wash, bake sale or just cleaning up or mowing the church property.
  • Pray in advance for all of the children from single parent homes. Pray they will approach camp with excitement and vigor.


What parents can do

  • Tell your children you are excited they get to attend summer camp
  • Act excited. If you attended a summer camp when a child, share that experience with them and be sure to tell them all about the fun times they will have at camp
  • Share with your child some of the things you are going to do while they are gone
  • Give them a house key or something from home so they can feel and know that you will be there for them when they return.
  • If the camp will allow you, then text a couple times while your child is away
  • If there are stepchildren that will be visiting your home, reassure your own child that you will protect all of their stuff. Kids worry that someone will “touch” their stuff.
  • Tell your children you are going to want to know about everything they did. If your child is into writing, purchase a journaling book so they can take notes about their experience.
  • Plan a coming home party for your child. It can be something simple such as ordering a pizza and eating outside that evening.
  • Pray with  your child before leaving for camp and assure your child you will be praying for  him or her each and every day they are gone.

Whether you are a church leader, a Christian camp leader or a single parent, sit back, relax and trust the Holy Spirit to guide each child in experiencing a God-filled joyful time at camp.

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