You are thinking about sending your child to summer camp. Maybe you have fond memories of your time away when you were young and want the same experience for your kids. Maybe they are the ones asking to head out on their own for a stretch of time or maybe you all simply feel like there would be a benefit to an away from home experience. Whatever the reason, you can be sure they will have a one of a kind memory making adventure if you take the time to do your homework in finding the right fit for your family, and more importantly, your kids. A few basic points to start you on your way are listed below.
Camps today can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Knowing what you can afford before you start offering kids choices will make the decision that much easier once you both decide on a favorite. If you do find a program that feels like a perfect fit but costs more than you want to spend, consider contacting the camp to see if they offer any scholarships or discounts.
Sleep away vs. Day
Is your child ready for an overnight adventure or would he/she do better with a day camp? Every kid is different and where some will thrive while away, others do better staying closer to home. Ask them which they would prefer and show them a few choices online to help get a better idea of what each experience will be like.
Length of Stay
Think about how long you’d like your child to be away. If it’s a day camp, you may have them attend all summer while you’re working whereas sleep away may be a shorter experience. Sleep away camps most commonly run from one to three weeks but can go as long as an entire summer depending on which camp you choose. Keep in mind as well, that the longer you go, the more it will cost to attend.
Quality of the Program
Not all camps are created equal. Do your research and make sure that the program you choose is reputable and well respected. A great place to start is to check with The American Camp Association and see whether or not your choice is accredited. Accreditation is voluntary but shows the camp cares enough to let an outside organization review its operations and ensure that it is up to the standard that you and your child expect.
Focus of the Camp
Are you looking for an experience where your child can spend the summer improving his/her soccer skills or are you hoping for a more generalized camp experience? These days the choices are endless for the focus of the camp your child chooses to attend. Sit down together and make a list of what you are hoping to achieve from attending camp. This can help to narrow down your search when you start further researching your main choices.
Finally, once you do decide on a preferred camp, make sure you visit in person and come prepared with a list of questions for the director so, come the day of drop-off, you can feel comfortable leaving your child knowing that he/she is in good hands.
Summer camp can be an amazing experience for your child that will help him/her to discover more about themselves and give them the unique opportunity to experience a small slice of life in a parent free zone. Taking the time to be sure you’ve picked the best experience will ensure a summer adventure that they will remember for a lifetime.
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