Choosing the Best Summer Camp for Your Kids

In order to keep their kids busy during the summer months, they often send them to summer camp. There are many different kinds of summer camps, and not all camps are right for all kids. Choosing the right one can be challenging. Not only does the camp need to offer activities your kids are interested in, it also has to be one that you know is going to be a safe environment for them to be in. Here are some things to think about before sending your kids off to camp this summer:

  1. Talk to your kids 
    If you are going to send your kids to camp, ask them the type of camp they would like to go to. For instance, one may want to go to computer camp, while another may want something that is more sports-oriented. There are camps like Camp Chateaugay where kids play many outdoor sports like soccer, softball/baseball and even rowing.

  2. Ask about the camp staff 
    Again, you need to know who your children are going to be around. Don’t be afraid to ask about the backgrounds and experience of all camp staff. Things to ask about include CPR certification, first-aid certification, and criminal background checks. They should not have any problems providing this information.

  3. Know the camp’s program emphasis 
    What does the camp emphasize on for programs, and what is their philosophy? Some are very structured, while others are more relaxed and kids can choose their own activities. Choose camps based on your kids’ personalities and interests.

  4. Make sure the camp is American Camp Association accredited 
    ACA accredited camps must comply with up to 300 industry standards for camper safety and health. If camps are not accredited, find out why.

  5. Narrow down the choices 
    Ask others to refer camps that they send their kids to, go online, and talk to your local recreation and parks department. Once you have found some camps that offer activities your kids like, narrow down that list to just a few. Check out their websites, and learn how they operate.

  6. Learn about the camp director 
    You need to know who is going to be caring for your kids. Find out as much as you can about the director’s background. They must be fully qualified, experienced, and have the proper training.

  7. Get references
    Ask for references from other parents and campers before making your final decision about which camps to send your kids to. This can give you a lot of insight to how the camps really operate, and show you that these are camps that kids enjoy going to. Camp directors should be more than willing to provide references. If possible, try to get references who live in your area, so you can meet and discuss things in more detail.

  8. Ask about camper-to-counselor ratios
    There need to be plenty of counselors to go around, especially for younger kids who need supervision. This is even more important if you have a special needs child. Some activities require more supervision as well, and more counselors will be needed for this.
  9. Accommodating special needs 
    If your child needs to take medications, or has allergies, the camp needs to be able to handle their special needs. Many camps are run specifically for children who have special needs, including physical and mental disabilities. There are even camps for kids who have behavioral issues, weight loss camps, and more.

  10. Ask how discipline is handled 
    The staff at the camp should not take special liberties when disciplining children. Obviously, they need to be disciplined when they break rules, but it needs to be done in a positive manner. If you think that punishments are too severe, or that there is not enough discipline, look for other camps.

    Image Source: Diocese of Fond du Lac

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