For more than 20 years Angela Ardolino has been serving families throughout the state of Florida, providing parents and guardians with smart, healthy and eco-friendly advice for sustainable living. As an entrepreneur, her businesses have provided support, guidance and resources to the stay-at-home CEOs, domestic engineers and full-time mothers and fathers who also work outside of the home.
She is the founder and editorial director for Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine, a valuable publication committed to enhancing the lives of families and providing information they can trust about raising responsible children and teens. As the Founder and Executive Director of the Children�s Theater Company in South Florida, she counseled, nurtured and changed the lives of thousands of children through the performing arts from Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Ardolino also presented parenting classes and workshops with a number of renowned organizations including Informed Families and the Miami-Dade County Department of Children and Families.
She strives to inform families about smart, healthy and energy-friendly living that helps not only the family unit but also the entire community. Most recently she launched Parenting With Angela, in which she provides candid advice and serves as the kid campaigner and teenage translator for parents. She can be seen weekly on ABC Action News providing advice about everything from breastfeeding to sending your kids to college to talking about sex. Ardolino is also a featured correspondent on Daytime providing resources to parents across the country on the syndicated network.
In the last two years, she has had the pleasure of serving on the Arts Council of Hillsborough County as well as serving on numerous boards which serve women and children, including the Executive Committee of Arts Tampa Bay, the Glazer Children�s Museum, Junior League of Tampa and Florida Fashionistas. As the chair of the Imagination Gala in 2010, she helped to raise more than $215,000 for the museum, and most recently more than $155,000 at the Seagrapes event hosted by The Florida Aquarium. Follow Angela on Twitter, @angelaardolino
By Angela Ardolino
For parents making the decision to send kids away to sleep away camp this summer, the idea may be frightening for both parents and the kids. But with an ever increasing number of families making the leap of faith to explore this other summer camp option, your family may find that sleep away programs can be beneficial for kids of all ages.
Every sleep away camp, whether two days or two months long, varies greatly. Some camps focus their programs on typical summer activities like kayaking, archery, color wars and various outdoor projects while others specialize in one or a few different areas like performing arts, boy scouting or S.T.E.M.
When is a child ready for sleep away camp?
When deciding whether your kids are ready to spend a portion of or the entire summer away from home, you should take into account a few different points; maturity level, their independence and how they make decisions. Campers should be a good listener and be able take direction well from counselors and camp directors. Your child should also know that they’ll be one of numerous kids in a bunk which means they’ll be responsible for making their own bed, showering daily and keeping track of their personal items (like toiletries, clothing, etc.) And of course, because mom and dad won’t be around, they should display the ability to make good decisions based on what you’ve taught them at home. Emphasize to your camper that while away, any rules that apply at home also apply at camp (like no swearing). If you think your child is capable of these things, they’re probably ready for venturing into the world of sleep away camp.
What will my child do at sleep away camp?
At their core, any good sleep away camp will help your child nurture fundamentals like teamwork, independence, learning new skills, making life-long friends and how to disconnect from technology. Without the distractions of home your child will spend their time at sleep away camp learning new things about themselves. A good sleep away camp should make the kids feel at home and give them more freedom to make choices while under the immediate guidance and supervision of trained staff.
Everyone, including parents, should be ready and anticipate homesickness for first time campers. Most camps are prepared and have policies in place to spot, treat and resolve homesickness within the first two days of arrival at camp. One such policy is a “no phone” policy, which bans kids from calling home encouraging them instead to write letters or emails updating mom and dad about what’s happening at camp.
Like choosing a day camp in your neighborhood, you’ll need to research sleep away options that meet goals and requirements you’ve set for your family. Whether it’s your kids whose been bit by the sleep away camp bug or parents looking to push their kids to be more independent, this is a viable option for your family.
Sleep Away Camps
Circle F Dude Ranch Camp
5301 Dude Ranch Road, Lake Wales
www.circlefduderanchcamp.com ● 863-676-4113
Nestled in 500 acres of wilderness, this traditional sleep-away camp for ages 6 to 17 offers two-week, three-week and 10-day sessions packed with exciting programs that focus on providing young people the opportunity to just be kids. Campers build lifelong friendships as they participate in horseback riding, archery, sports, photography, arts and more in a safe environment.
Valley View Ranch Equestrian Camp
606 Valley View Ranch Road, Cloudland, GA
www.valleyviewranch.com ● 706-862-2231
A horse lover’s paradise since 1954, instructors teach beginner to advanced riders. For girls age 8-17, the camp includes barrels, vaulting and trails. Space is limited.