Trying to decide on the best summer camp for your child? It’s not an easy decision to make. After all, you want your child to have fun, make friends, learn a thing or two and most importantly remain safe. Ensuring that the camp you select offers all of this and more is easier than it seems.
Here the top tips for picking the best summer camp for your kid.
What Are Your Child’s Interests?
What is your child most interested in, sports, arts and crafts, or the sciences? There are countless areas of interest different kids find most fascinating. Selecting a camp that offers programs geared to your child’s key interests is a sure-fire way for them to enjoy the summer. This will also help get kids more excited about going to camp in the first place.
Talk to your child about what they would like to spend their summer doing at camp, this will help you narrow down the right camp by available programs.
Does Your Child Wish To Stay The Night?
There are overnight camps and there are day camps, depending on your child’s personality the best option will vary. Ask your child how they feel about sleeping at camp for an extended time. Many kids prefer a day camp that allows them to come home at night and sleep in their own bed. Still, others like the adventure associated with going away for a longer period of time.
Fun Vs. Competition
Camp should be fun as opposed to competitive in order to help all kids build confidence and learn how to play well with others. Take the time to watch activities taking place at a camp to make sure it is about fun, good sportsmanship and teamwork as opposed to competition.
Camp Activity Options Or Strict Itineraries?
Some camps offer campers options throughout the day while other camps work on more regimented schedules. Find out what types of options a camp offers in order to decide which is best for your unique child.
Old Friends Or New?
Making new friends is an important part of any summer camp for kids but that doesn’t mean old friends aren’t welcome too! If your child is new to camp it might help them feel more comfortable if they attend with a close friend. This also gives you the opportunity to carpool to camp.
(Tips For Picking The Right Summer Camp)
Picking A New Camp Vs. A Camp With History
New camps open up all of the time, and while many offer great programs it is always a risk sending your child to a newbie camp. A camp that has been open for years provides more reassurance because without a safe, good program there’s no way they would still be open for business. Be extra leery of camps that have changed operating names but are still the same overall camp. Camps, and other businesses, often change names, but not management, ownership or even policies, to escape a bad reputation.
Tour The Camp First-Hand
You can look online all you want but going somewhere first-hand will give you much better idea about what really goes on. Take your child along with you to tour a potential camp to help them feel more comfortable about attending. While touring the camp be on the lookout for any red flags that may hint at rundown, unsafe or unsanitary aspects of the camp. Also, take this time to ask camp staff plenty of questions.
Questions To Ask Camp Staff Before Making Your Final Decision
The American Camp Association recommends asking the following questions before signing your child up at any summer camp:
-What training does camp staff undergo in regards to supervision, safety, counseling, problem solving, etc.?
-What is the camper to counselor ratio?
-What are safety and medical procedures?
-How will the camp meet your child’s dietary needs? What kinds of food do they serve and when?
-Are campers supervised all day or are they given more freedom to do their own thing?
-How does the camp communicate with parents about any upcoming events, illnesses or injuries?
-Does the American Camping Association accredit the camp?
-What sort of activities do kids participate in throughout the day? Is it constant go-go-go or is there down time?
-How can you stay in touch with your child while they are at camp? (Reference)
There are many things you need to know before you trust a camp to look after your child. Doing the research and asking plenty of questions take time but it will give you peace of mind and help ensure your child’s safety (and fun!) this summer.
Camp Live Oak works with Florida’s State Park System to provide fun, enriching and safe camp programs for kids. We are accredited through the American Camp Association and include a highly qualified team of environmentalists, ecologists, state guides, water safety instructors, counselors, certified teachers, specialists and scientists.