Summer is almost here, so it’s time to think about summer camps! As a parent we draw from our personal experiences when choosing a camp for our children. The wide range of camps offered now can make it harder to choose the right summer camp for your child.
The question is how do we choose the right camp for our children? In order to choose wisely we need to know our children, what they like, what will fit their personality and interests. In order to make navigating through the maze of camp offerings easier, below are a few pointers. Answering the questions below can help you narrow down the summer camp options this year.
- Day camp or sleep away camp? This decision is based on your child’s age and personality. Are they homebodies that want to be able to sleep in their own bed every night or are they ready for an adventure? All sleep away camps have a minimum age requirement, anywhere from 10-12. The only way they will have a good time is if they are ready for this big step. Having a friend attend the same camp, might ease some of the fears, or attending a sleep away camp that is only a couple of hours away, so they feel that parents can pick them up anytime if needed.
- General or specialized camp? Are you looking for a camp to keep your child safe but with limited activities, or something specific? If your child likes sports look for a ‘multisport camp’ or specific sport camps. In multi-sport camps the children will have the opportunity to learn and improve their skills on a wide range of sports, while the sport specific camps focus on that particular sport only. Educational camps work the same way, so finding camps that focus on the interests of your child is a great benefit.
- Who is administering the camp? It is very important that redoubtable organizations and /or individuals organize and conduct the camps. Nothing is more important than having your child safe and in a safe environment during the summer. Look up their web site, look up the people who own the organizations and research their backgrounds. Are they qualified to teach and conduct the camps? Just because someone likes a discipline (educational or sports) does not make them experts. These are important questions that need to be answered before you sign your child up for camps.
- Safety of the camp? Sometimes people take for granted the location of the camps. A few questions that need answers are: is it in a safe area of the city, is it a fenced in facility for sports, or safe building for educational camps? Your child will be spending most of the day there, and maybe even weeks during the summer, so ensuring that the organization who is conducting the camps has secured a proper location to conduct the camps is very important. Also, is the staff requiring you to sign the children in when you drop them off in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon? Knowing that only the people who you designated are allowed to pick your child up is very important. Safety measures need to be in place and clearly communicated with the parents by the camp staff . Also, for activities that take place outside, does the camp have a shelter or place where in case of inclement weather the children can seek refuge?
- Daily schedule of the camps? A well-organized camp has a clearly determined schedule that is communicated with the parents and children ahead of time. As a parent you should know exactly where the children are and what they are doing at all times. This way if there is a doctor’s appointment or emergency you can pick up them up. Knowing the daily schedule will make it easier to make the decision if you child is ready to attend that particular camp or not. For some children knowing the exact daily schedule will relieve them of any additional anxiety of the unknown. Are they factoring in water breaks for activities that take place outside? Keeping he children hydrated in the summer is an important factor.
In conclusion, know your child, what he/she likes and wants to learn or improve on and do your homework on who is conducting the camps. You should have your child attend a well-organized camp this summer with staff that is properly trained and dedicated to conduct activities that will enrich the children’s lives and empower them to be better students, athletes, and achieve their dreams.