School’s out and the season’s done! Well done, parents, you did it! You’ve successfully coordinated cheer practice schedules and performances, getting your child to and from school every day, transporting them all over town to every school and cheer responsibility in the afternoons… and all in between your work and family duties. Bravo! Now that summer is officially here, your cheerleader has one big item on the cheerleading agenda–CAMP. It’s the event they’ve looked forward to since they scored their spot on the team at tryouts a month or two ago, and really, ever since they returned home from camp last year! You might be a chaperone this year or sitting this summer out, but no matter your role, your cheerleader is probably bouncing-off-the-walls excited to get there. Before you turn the lock and load up the car, there are a few things that parents should keep in mind while preparing their child for cheer camp.

1. Remind your cheerleader the point of camp.
Cheer camp is exciting because it’s team spent away from home with the team, in a new place, usually overnight or over several nights, and all about cheer. However, this can easily get to a cheerleader’s head that it’s a vacation; it’s a time spent to work on cheer skills, not goof off and relax. There’s definitely room for fun, but since cheer camp is on your dime, parents, gently remind your cheerleader to save the horsing around for after the day’s clinics are done. And, that goes for any age group: it seems that the older the cheerleader, the more the urge to stray from the camp agenda. There will be plenty of team-bonding time at night without jeopardizing the workshops during the day.

2. Double-triple-check the cheer bag. How many times have you gone away on vacation and realized you left X, Y, and Z back at the house? Well, add the anticipatory energy of cheer camp into the mix, and you better believe that at least a few items have slipped your cheerleader’s mind! Make sure that you double-check everything they might possibly need, especially if they’re headed to a camp destination with a limited or possibly nonexistent general store… like a lake or mountain town. Did you pack a small first aid kit and daily medications? Enough socks? How about a water bottle? The easiest way to get everything in the bag is to reference a cheer camp checklist while you pack; that way, nothing gets left behind.

3. Prepare YOURSELF.
You’ve got the bag checked and your cheerleader outlined with camp goals, but have you thought about what you’re going to do while they’re gone?? Since school let out, you’ve been spinning your mental wheels trying to plan each day around who will watch your child or children as you go about your daily demands. Got a job and a youngster? Childcare has a hefty bill attached to it that you can forget about for a week or two. Got a teenager? Think about not driving them anywhere while they’re gone. What can you do with this extra money and free time? ANYTHING. Schedule a pedicure, have brunch with ‘the girls,’ go see a movie or get concert tickets for a hot date night. To avoid ‘feeling like you have an empty nest’, have some adult activities planned ahead of time. Plus, you’ve earned it!

How else can cheer parents prepare their cheerleaders to camp! Let us know in the comments.