Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Right Summer Camp

Chances are you have already been inundated by flyers, brochures, and other promotional camp materials. I know what many of you are thinking: Is this guy really talking about camp a day before were about to get "walloped" (their words not mine) by a winter snow storm? Well I am. Camp registration is in full swing and if you don't start the process now you might be closed out of a program you really want.

If you have ever looked for a summer camp you know it can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Here are some questions and tips to prepare you for picking the right camp for both you and your child.

  • Camp Philosophy: Does the camp philosophy match your opinion of a successful summer camp experience? Are you looking for a competitive sport camp, something adventurous and new, or a little bit of everything with emphasis on personal interaction?
  • Staff: How does the camp recruit and train staff? Are counselors certified in CPR and First Aid, and are there background checks? Also how much time does a camp spend training there staff and how are they prepared to handle your child?
  • Safety: You want to be assured your child is in a safe and fun environment. Who is the first aid provider, is there a certified nurse, how big are your groups, and what are your pick up and supervision policies? Are there any special schedules or precautions for adverse weather? Safety should be just as important to your camp as it is to you.
  • Activities and Schedule: Is it important to have a schedule with 8 periods a day where campers are led through various counselor driven activities? Does your child tire easily and need special accommodations to make it through the day? Some camps may offer a few choices of activities and others may make activities available to all campers. How important are specialized unique program such as Archery, Ropes, or Boating to you and your child?
  • Convenience: Children come to camp for many different reasons, which is why it's important to choose a camp that fits your needs. You may want to look for transportation, before and after camp, or lunch options. Will driving to a camp far away add more stress to your day, or is it worth the time spent?
So now you know what to look for, but where do you get the information? Call local camps directly, research online, and look in brochures to get an overall feel. Attend an open house, take a tour, and ask other parents for recommendations. If you do not know any other parents call the camp and they will often refer you to a parent willing to talk to you. Yes it's a lot of information, but now you know what to look for and just imagine the smile on your child's face after a fun day at camp.

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