It’s a big decision, picking the perfect summer camp for your kids. It not all about s’mores and sing-alongs, as the correct choice should deliver lifelong memories and create new, or enhance existing skills. Here’s our suggestions as to picking a winner, and making sure your kid has an awesome summer experience.
Doing your homework on day camp
When choosing a day camp, look close to home first, as this takes the hassle out of getting there and home again. There will be lots of choice so take the time to chat with the camp directors before you enrol. Do your online homework, and look for references from previous parents. Well trained staff and a low staff to campers ration is always a bonus, along with the staff having background checks and references. Also make sure that your kid is involved in the choosing of camp – it makes them more independent if they have a say in choosing the activities that are on offer.
Making the sleepaway camp choice
If your child has been a day camper for a few years, it may then be the right time to consider sleepaway camp. Talk to your child about this to make sure that they are comfortable with the thought of being away from home. Sleepaway camp is great for boosting confidence and independence, but make sure that you address the topic of homesickness as this can be a factor, certainly for first-time sleepaway campers.
As a parent you may also have anxiety about your child going away to camp. Try and not let your own anxieties have a negative impact. Many camps do not allow cell phones so there generally won’t be any contact, but camps should send updates to parents, and the kids write letters home too.
Finding the perfect choice
There really is almost too much choice for camps these days. With lots of variety, more so than when us parents were children. Make sure you establish what interests will keep your child engaged, be it sport, music, circus skills, language, performing arts etc, and then focus on those that provide what your child is interested in.
Check if your camp meets state standards
Ask the camp that you are interested in if they’re accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA), as they do site visits, and review the facilities etc. Don’t be put off by camps that are not accredited, as they can still be of a very high standard.
Making camp affordable
Camp can be a very expensive choice. If you decide on a camp that is out of your budget, check if there is a scholarship program that you qualify for, or book early as some may have early bird offers.