Junior Week at Tuscarora is a week long program for 8-12 year old campers. With good reason, many parents worry about sending their young children to a sleep away camp. The world can be a scary place, and you will do anything to make sure they are safe.
For many people, camp is an easy decision. Maybe they went to camp as a child, or always dreamed of the opportunity. Maybe they live close enough that Tuscarora is like their backyard. Though it may seem like parents are more protective every year, the average age a child will go to sleep away camp for the first time is just 6 years old!
Here at Tuscarora, we do everything possible to make sure that your kids enjoy a safe, fun, and Christ centered experience.
1. INDEPENDENCE (KIND OF)
It might be hard to imagine that your son or daughter will be totally independent one day - but they will! For many kids, camp can be a great first experiment in independence. They get to experience the excitement of being away from home (maybe for the first time) but you get to rest in the knowledge that someone else is still taking great care of them!
At Junior Week, an amazing team of adult volunteers oversees a highly trained counseling staff who stay overnight in close proximity to them. Your child's counselor is with them all day long making sure they're safe and healthy. They put them to bed at night, wake them up in the morning, make sure they eat all their meals, stay hydrated, and take showers. We even make sure you can check on them frequently throughout the week by uploading daily photos of all of our campers having fun!
2. A PROGRAM FOR THEM
When you think of summer camp, you may think of activities like ziplines, canoeing, go karts, and late nights spent chatting in the darkness. We understand if you don't think that's appropriate for an 8 year old! Our Junior Week program is specially designed with activities they will enjoy! We even have the schedule laid out so each camper has the opportunity to get 9+ hours of sleep at night.
3. LIFE-LONG FRIENDSHIPS
We know plenty of adults who look back on their years as a Junior Week camper and are amazed at how many friendships have survived the years in between. The experience of living, playing, and learning together for a week can create a bond that won't fade! Many of our campers will room with the same friends year after year, and then return to serve as counselors when they're old enough.
Gregg Hunter, from the Christian Camp and Conference Association says, "Away from the labels that have been handed to them back at school, campers are free to be themselves and to experience new adventures with a new group of peers. In this setting, young people have the freedom to ask important questions about issues such as faith and their future, and to get honest answers from caring adults."
4. WEEK AT CAMP = MONTH AT HOME
Our Junior Week camp director is fond of saying that you do the same amount of activity during Junior Week that you would during a month at home. In just one week your son or daughter will spend time at the pool, make crafts, play outdoor games, have a barbecue, roast marshmallows, enjoy a pajama party, and even go to a carnival!
5. SPEND TIME OUTDOORS
As life gets busier and busier, as school gets more and more challenging, and as responsibilities become more intense, it seems children spend less time outdoors than ever. At Junior Week, each day comes with the opportunity to spend as much time outdoors as they can. The long-term benefits of playing outside are both physical and spiritual.
The best part is this time outdoors is spent completely unplugged! In an increasingly digital world, Junior Week may be the only time all year your child spends an entire week without a phone, computer, tablet, or television screen. This will allow them to live in the moment, develop deep bonds with their peers and counselors, and refresh their spirit and mind.
6. HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD
In Mark 10:14 Jesus says, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God."
At Junior Week, everything is about Jesus. We believe that a week away from home, in a new environment, surrounded by friends is the perfect place for your child to begin learning about the deep love the Lord has for them. It is our prayer that during their week at camp they will discover this love for the first time, or take ownership of a faith they have accepted from an even younger age.
Junior Week is a safe space for kids to ask questions of their counselors, see Christ's love reflected in the hearts of their friends, sing Christian songs with excitement, and have fun without ever feeling like an outsider. This is a powerful experience that changes lives - and we believe every child no matter how young can benefit from it!