Summer camp is one of those formative experiences for kids and teens. It’s an opportunity to be more independent than they’ve ever been before and have experiences they’d never get in their daily lives at home. They form friendships and memories they can cherish for decades to come.
So many parents want to give their kids the gift of a great camp experience, especially when there is a camp that fits their child’s interests to a tee, like our aviation camp. At the same time, you don’t want to push them into a new environment if they’re too young to make the most of it.
If you have an aspiring pilot on your hands, how old do they need to be to go to aviation camp?
There isn’t a solid answer to this question that is true for everyone. There are guidelines, though, and the average age for a child’s first trip to overnight camp is 7-9 years old.
At Pali Adventures and our aviation camp, we welcome campers from the ages of 8-16. We’ve found that children under the age of eight tend to struggle with the new independence of camp and they may not get as much from their experience as an older child or teenager would.
Within that 8-16 range, it comes down to knowing your child. Your parental insight can help you determine if your child will both enjoy their time at camp and be able to get as much benefit from it as possible.
If your child is in that age window of 8-16 but has never been to summer camp before, how do you know if they’re ready for aviation camp? This checklist can help you know if the time is right.
First and foremost, for your child to have a great camp experience, you want them to be interested in the specialty.
Campers at Pali Adventures will also spend plenty of time in other elective activities like playing water games and learning trapeze if they choose. Still, they’ll spend every morning at camp learning about aviation and participating in aviation-based activities. If your child isn’t very engaged in the camp specialty, they’ll be less likely to enjoy the experience and more likely to be homesick.
You also want to consider whether your child will be able to understand the aviation topics they’ll be learning about during their camp. While we cater our lessons and activities to campers at all knowledge levels, your child will benefit more from camp if they’re at least able to stay on task and focus on the activity at hand.
Independence is an essential part of the camp experience. For many kids, coming to summer camp is their first experience being away from home and their parents for a week or more.
As helpful as aviation camp is for helping your child be more independent, you don’t want to push them from 0 to 60 right away. Think about whether your child is comfortable enough in their own skin to be away from you for the length of camp you choose.
If you aren’t sure, it’s a good idea to take a step-up approach to prepare your child for camp. Think about the longest your child has been away from you in the past and arrange for longer and longer stays away from home.
Like any other type of summer camp, aviation camp is a powerful social experience. Kids find themselves in a new environment surrounded by other kids they’ve never met. It’s a great way to help them hone their social skills and learn how to make friends more easily.
However, you want your child to have a certain level of social comfort first. If they don’t even socialize during the few hours they’re at school, a whole camp of new people could be too much for them.
As with sleeping away from home, you can help your child work their way up to the social comfort they need by getting them into progressively interactive experiences. Start with a few one-on-one play dates, then move up to small groups and larger groups little by little.
Aviation camp is a well-supervised event. There are always counselors around to make sure your child is safe and healthy. At the same time, your child will have responsibilities they may not have at home, like holding themselves accountable for their daily hygiene.
While your child is at camp, they need to be responsible enough to keep up with their routines for showering, brushing their teeth, caring for their hair, and more. If you want your child to reap the benefits of aviation camp but they still need a lot of supervision for their hygiene, this is something to work on before the camp arrives.
During aviation camp, your child will be able to take in a range of new experiences they’ve never seen before. They’ll build and launch their own rocket, learn piloting skills in a virtual reality flight simulator, and even fly in a helicopter with a pilot-instructor.
As many safety precautions as we take, it’s also crucial that campers have the maturity and focus to follow instructions, respect their counselors, and obey the rules. This is an important benchmark to tell you if your child is ready for aviation camp.
Aviation camp isn’t your mother’s old summer camp. It’s a learning experience and an adventure your child will be talking about for years. Making sure your child is old enough and mature enough for the camp is an important part of ensuring that they have the best possible time at camp.
If you think your child is ready, sign up for aviation camp so they can start looking forward to it today.