Even though it’s not yet time for it to happen, before you know it school will be out and your children will be looking for things to do. Have you considered summer camp? Here are tips on how to choose the right one for your child.
If your child has never been to summer camp, now is the time to begin thinking about it. Give yourself plenty of time to do research – this will ensure your choice is good for your child. Ask friends and relatives whose children have gone to summer camp for their suggestions.
There are a number of types of camp to consider. Resident camp is geared toward children ages 7 and older who will stay in cabins or tents. Day camp is generally for children 4 to 7 who aren’t ready to stay overnight. We have some fabulous day camps offered through our local recreation center. There are arts and crafts camps, climbing camps, swimming and hiking camps, and horseback riding camps. So many to choose from, but we find that we need to register very early as they fill up quickly!
Specialty camps concentrate on a particular activity. Special needs camps are for children with mental, medical, or physical limitations. There is usually a higher counselor/camper ratio to help ensure the safety and enjoyment for the children. Length of sessions can vary from between a few days to as long as the entire summer.
What do you need to consider when searching for a summer camp?
* Cost – If the camp costs more than you can afford, it may not be a good choice this year.
* Location – Local camps may be the best choice if your child has never been away from home. They are often less expensive, too.
* Staff – This is probably the one of the most important things to consider. Is the camp director trained? How many staff members are there to campers? How do they hire counselors and what type of training are they required to take? How do the camp counselors interact with the campers?
* Activities – Be sure to get your child’s input. Since they are the ones who will be attending the camp, you want to choose one which has activities your child will enjoy. Some camps emphasize horseback riding, water sports, or outdoor survival skills. If you find one offering activities your child enjoys, and it’s in your budget, write down the information to compare it with others.
* Facility – If possible, go to the camp before you make your decision to check out the facilities. Are they well maintained? How many children will be in each dormitory or cabin?
If you aren’t able to visit the facility, you may want to scour their website, if they have one. Quite often a website will answer any question you might have, contain photographs, menus, and schedules. Some will also have a virtual tour and map so you can get a mental image.
The above tips on how to choose the right summer camp for your child are the minimum to consider. It is well worth it to take your time comparing camps and you’re sure to find one that meets your child’s needs – food options play a large part in our decision making! Once you have the summer camp chosen, get the necessary paperwork handed in so you can secure your child’s spot, and may the journey into great memories begin!