Do you send your kids off to summer camp each year? If not, now is a great time to consider it. I realize that it is the middle of winter but if you want the best camp selection now is the time to start planning now. Summer camp is more than singing and spending plenty of time outdoors but it is about creating memories for your child and helping them learn new skills. Plus, it gets kids away from screen time and allows them to make new friends. Don’t panic if your child isn’t quite ready to spend a week or two away from home, there are plenty of day camp options too!
Choosing a summer camp for your child might seem overwhelming at first because there are so many great camps in your area. Just remember that some of the camps available do require certain types of membership in order to attend. The ones that require membership are generally girl scouts and boy scouts. If you are considering sending your child to camp, I highly suggest that you sit down with them and discuss it with them first. This way you can get their feedback which will help you determine which camp is the right fit for your child. Depending on their age, you can even let them help you with the decision or let them choose what interest they are wanting to explore or learn about at summer camp.
Today, I want to share some tips on how to make choosing the right summer camp for your child easy so that they have a great experience.
I remember going to several camps out of state when I was growing up but if your child is a first time camper, I recommend that you start with a camp in your area. Picking a camp close to home or near your workplace will allow you to go get your child easier if they happen to get homesick or get hurt. I just want to reassure you that your camper will be busy and probably won’t even think about being away from home, even on over-night camps.
Choosing a Day Camp vs Over-Night Camp
If you have a young child, there are plenty of day camps available in your area to keep your child busy during the summer. It will give them a chance to meet new friends, enjoy a wide variety of activities, and it is a great way to introduce your child to a summer camp.
Most over-night camps have an age restriction and it depends on the camp. Staying overnight at camp can be scary for some children. It can be tough finding sleepaway camps that are great and can handle homesickness. However, from experience as a child most kids enjoy camp even though they have never been away from their parents for extended periods of time. Plus, most camps are designed to help your child overcome their fears and deal with homesickness. Before choosing an over-night camp, be sure to find out what their policy is for handing homesick campers. Generally, if your child does well on sleep overs with their friends they usually do very well at camp. You will probably have a harder time with them being gone than they do. 🙂
Registration Fees and Schedule
Many camps have registration fees that need to be paid in full several weeks before your child goes to camp. The camp fees include your child’s lodging fees, food for the full week, and all of their activities. If you have trouble paying these fees, talk to the camp staff. They may be able to help you. Just remember that all camps are non-refundable and it is important that your child is ready for this experience before you decide to sign them up. Also, most summer camps require a physical plus a note from your doctor if your child take routine medications on a daily basis.
Going to Camp with Friends
If your child’s friends are going off to camp, you can try to book the same session with your child. It is fun going with your friends but it is not necessary, especially, if you want your child to meet some new friends. Of course, if your child does end up going with their friends you could consider carpooling together to camp to save money on gas.
Find a Camp that Host’s an Activity that Your Child Wants to Explore
There are a wide variety of camp programs available and you can find camps that focus on activities that interest your child. For example, if they want to leave photography. Find a camp that has a photography class or focus. The camp will teach them these new skills and a chance to have hands on experience at learning something that they haven’t tried before. Most camps offer your typical swimming, archery, team activities, crafts, and so much more.
Do Research the Camp Thoroughly Before Signing Your Child Up for Summer Camp
Before committing to send your child to summer camp, you will want to find out this list of things first:
- How are the staff trained?
- Do they require back ground checks on their staff and volunteers?
- Are the camp counselors trained to handle home sick campers?
- Is there a nurse on the camp’s property to handle emergencies?
- How does the camp handle my child’s medications?
- How does the camp handle the camper’s conflicts or discipline issues?
- What is will my child’s day look like while at camp?
- Does the camp allow children with special needs?
- What will my child eat at camp? If you choose a day camp, you might have to send your child with a lunch and snacks.
- Can my child call me if they need too?
- Can my child bring their cell phone?
Meet the Camp Counselors
When dropping off your child, take the opportunity to meet and talk with camp counselors if possible. This way you have an idea of who is taking care of your child for the remainder of the week especially if they are staying overnight for a week or two.
Photo Credit: Flickr via Creative Commons